Jeff Green, CEO of The Trade Desk

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Trade Desk CEO and Co-Founder Jeff Green said the past year was a wake-up call for the advertising industry as consumers moved from traditional television to streaming and online video.

“2020 was a wake-up call for the advertising industry when it came to television,” Green said on Thursday of the company’s earnings call for the fourth quarter. He said the company’s networked TV business, which sells ads on streaming platforms, doubled in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

The trade desk, which has a thriving business in networked television, has a lot to gain as advertising revenue shifts from traditional linear television. As more people stream shows and movies in their living rooms during the pandemic, The Trade Desk has seen more opportunities to show them ads on streaming platforms. Green has said the pandemic has accelerated a shift in this direction and other areas.

“We’ve talked a lot over the past 12 months about how the pandemic accelerated the trends already underway, but we couldn’t predict exactly how strong that acceleration would be.”

The company’s shares were down around 1% in after-hours trading, even after posting revenue of $ 319.9 million and non-GAAP earnings of $ 3.71 per share, well above expectations. The company’s technology helps brands and agencies reach audiences across media formats and devices.

Green recently cited a presentation with Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer. “He and I believe we are approaching an inevitable future where all advertising happens, and I quote in his words ‘digital, programmatic, data-driven and automatic’.”

Green reiterated Pritchard’s views on the traditional TV buying process, where advertisers typically pre-purchase much of their annual TV spend on deals during the spring season. The networks then hold presentations and parties to show media buyers their programs, audience data, and advertising tools. Pritchard criticized the process last September, calling for a later advance marketplace and more flexibility in purchasing ads that are closer to the air.