The rebranding of operations to embrace and exploit the new market reality of multi-screen media consumption was an "immediate and pressing need", according to CEO Kevin Huang, who said the company had been contemplating the move since early this year.
The ubiquity of wireless broadband in Hong Kong has blurred the lines between channels such as TV, desktop, phones, and tablets, and the trend has only accelerated this year, according to Huang.
"Consumers are constantly jumping from one screen to the other, and using an average of four different screens throughout the day for work and leisure," he said. "This will only increase as the emerging category of wearable computing goes mainstream, making the consequences of an incorrect advertising decision even more painful.”
Consolidating the group’s businesses and simplifying its offering made sense, said Huang, even though less than half (40 per cent) of local marketers are ready to deploy a generalist approach to digital advertising. Around 60 per cent still go for agencies with stated specialties such as in social media or mobile apps, but Huang told Campaign Asia-Pacific he aimed to be ahead of the curve and be an agenda-setting agency leading the market.
Pixel’s capabilities after the integration include display and in-stream video across web, mobile and TV; these used to be offered separately by Pixel Media (advertising and custom content), Adsfactor (online ad network) and Snap Mobile (mobile ad network).
The timing may be appropriate. According the most recent Global Web Index (GWI) report on Hong Kong, released in Q1 2104, the city is a hotbed of second screeners, with 86 per cent of respondents using an additional device (54 per cent use mobile phones) while watching television. Apple recently validated the trend with the introduction of Continuity, which makes it possible for someone to start reading, watching or listening to something on one device, but finish it on another.
"Our restructuring allows advertisers to actively reach users by pushing content across multiple screens rather waiting passively for them to find it," Huang added.
Huang believed 2015 will be a record year as more ad dollars will shift to digital channels, according to adspend projections by The Hong Kong Advertisers Association and Nielsen. It is clear that digital platforms have become the main source of information for Hong Kong consumers with mobile devices becoming the primary way people get their information. "This is especially true among teenagers and working professionals, who are increasingly forming their world view based on what they see on their screens and receive via apps,” he said.