Tonight is a milestone moment for the industry. AOL will hold the first-ever Programmatic Upfront for more than 800 digital and traditional marketing executives.

The movement is about simplifying digital advertising at scale – this is our mission at AOL Networks. It's about using technology, data and automation to free up marketers and agencies to do breakthrough creative work. It's about tearing down the inefficiencies that today prevent our industry from competing in earnest for TV budgets. It's about automating what can and should be automated. And it's about defining a new way of buying in the digital space.

For traditionalists, it's easy to claim that 'programmatic' and 'upfront' don't go together; to label 'programmatic' and 'premium' as opposites. This is an empty claim - an attempt to pigeonhole automation as remnant bidding. Many benefit from keeping the industry confused because it fuels feature-based vs. solution-based businesses. But the truth is that programmatic is only synonymous with automation. That it has nothing to do with inventory quality. The fact is that the agencies, brands and publishers that leverage automated programmatic technologies take back huge budget percentages currently lost to 'features'. They lock in better brand results and they create business efficiencies that ultimately drive competitive advantages.

As an industry, we can and should make this easier than we do. As evidenced by the number of marketing executives attending the Programmatic Upfront, buyers want to double down on digital. And they want us to make it much easier and simpler than it is to do so.

With a complete, premium cross-screen and format tech platform that we are investing more and more in each day (i.e. recent acquisition of Adap.tv), AOL is doing its part to draw a line in the sand. We are asking the industry to join us. Tonight, we will demonstrate that the market is ready for change; clients will show that creativity can be the star that rises out of automation.

Check out the AOL Networks programmatic platform video below: For updates and the latest news from AOL, follow @AOLPR on Twitter.