Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) will begin experimenting with automated ad sales, moving away from the pay-TV industry’s years-old way of selling ads through phone calls, paperwork and in-person deal-making.

Dish will open up a digital ad market to let advertisers buy linear television ads as a beta test before officially launching at a later date, the company said in a statement on Monday.

“We’re bringing the ease of digital ad buying to the TV marketplace,” Adam Gaynor, vice president of media sales and analytics at Dish, said in an interview.

Dish will work with ad-buying firms Rocket Fuel, TubeMogul and DataXu, the company said.

Similar to the stock market, automated or programmatic ad technology allows each ad impression to be offered up by sellers on a digital ad exchange so buyers make real-time bids based on data about individuals they aim to target.

Television still represents the largest slice of advertising revenue but digital advertising is growing quickly, chipping away at TV’s dominance. Advertisers are expected to spend $70.6 billion this year on TV and $58.6 billion on digital media including mobile, according to research firm eMarketer.

As more eyeballs shift to online video on digital services and advertisers get used to the flexibility of buying, selling and placing digital ads on the fly, the pay-TV industry has come under pressure to employ a similar strategy.

“Our goal is to go get online (advertising) budgets,” Gaynor said.

Pay-TV providers like Dish collect customer data through their set-top boxes that is already being used for targeted advertising. Dish will use 80 specifications such age, gender, and education and plans to bring in more data sets moving forward to make targeting more sophisticated, Gaynor said.

Dish’s set-top boxes collect data on whether the ad ran on the TV set or was skipped that is feedback for advertisers, Gaynor said.

On the Web, ads can be placed instantly. Television ads can be bought in real-time but it takes a couple of days to be slotted into programing, he added.

Late last year, Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) ESPN experimented with programmatic ad auctions for its SportsCenter show. Disney’s ABC and Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) NBC have dipped their toes into programmatic ad-buying on their online video offerings but not yet on television programing.

While the networks ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox and their affiliates sell ad slots independently, programmers such as the Food Network could use Dish’s automated ad market, Gaynor said.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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