Coming on the heels of our successful Digital Content NewFront in late April, we announced today that we are holding the first ever Programmatic Upfront event on Sept. 23 -- the first day of Advertising Week 2013 -- for more than 150 clients, media, analysts and investors. The theme of the AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront is "Programmatic Explodes Creativity." We will celebrate the creativity headed our way as technology, data and automation free up marketers and agencies to do wildly imaginative things.

Since the 1970s, TV has been the primary beneficiary of upfront buying. In the last two years, digital has also held upfronts, with a heavy emphasis on video inventory. But as chief marketing officers and other brand stewards come to terms with the reality that proving ad spend ROI is "the new black", there is every reason to believe advertisers will soon be willing to pre-allocate media budgets against large scale display inventory.

The online advertising industry has created a fear and chaos-based environment filled with hundreds of small companies each pitching highly technical necessities to drive digital spend and achieve ROI. At AOL, we believe this must change. CMO's can't embrace digital much further without a simpler connection between people and platforms. They can't shift their budgets from TV until we - as an industry - demonstrate the true power of digital to unlock creativity.

We believe this is the first of what will become an annual industry event -- just like the Digital NewFronts. At AOL, we want to lead this new revolution and help define a new way of buying in the programmatic space.

Recent stats from eMarketer show just how big this business is and will be in the coming years. eMarketer estimates U.S. advertisers will spend more than $3.36 billion on real-time bidding this year, up from just under $2 billion in 2012 and less than $1 billion in 2011. eMarketer expects double-digit increases in spending each year through 2017, when real-time bidding will account for more than $8.49 billion in digital ad spending-or 29% of all digital display spending.*

Check out the event details below.

AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront
Date: September 23, 2013
Location: Skylight West, 500 West 36th Street (@ 10th Avenue)
Time: 5:00-7:00PM ET
Invitation only event

The event will feature marketers and agency executives who will showcase the business rationale that illustrates why upfront programmatic commitments are critical to their business strategy. Speakers will talk about the creative revolution that is made possible by automation.

Brand, agency and industry participants in the AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront will be announced at a later date.

*eMarketer Digital Intelligence Report (April 4, 2013): RTB Ad Spend Continues Robust Growth