Staff Reporters
Nov 18, 2020

40 Under 40 2020: Ian Hocking, South China Morning Post

With an ability to demystify digital and focus the news industry on its future, Ian Hocking has helped SCMP boost not only revenue, but also the company’s ability to satisfy client concerns such as viewability and brand safety.

40 Under 40 2020: Ian Hocking, South China Morning Post
Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 

Ian Hocking

Vice president, digital 
South China Morning Post 
Hong Kong

Given that trust is one of the top commodities of a news brand, Ian Hocking has hit the motherlode when he created and launched a brand safety tool for South China Morning Post (SCMP). The SCMP Signal tool works to ensure that clients spend is safe across SCMP and that every impression actively targets environments that will drive the best results. This ballooned SCMP’s programmatic growth by over 300% in the last 12 months whilst many other sites struggled through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Innovation underpins Hocking’s 15 years in the media. In his previous position as head of programmatic for News UK, he led the creation of the first-party data platform, NewsIQ, which allowed the company to democratise its audience data and build client partnerships.

The crackerjack adtech lead took his knack to SCMP in 2018, where he doubled its revenue per thousand impressions (RPM) through a series of page optimisations in six months. Besides SCMP Signal, he also developed SCMP Lighthouse, claimed to be the first platform in Asia to deliver first-party audience insight and activation. The company saw viewability increase by 32% year-on-year (YOY) while programmatic real cost-per-thousand (rCPM) rose by 29% YOY despite a marketplace suppressed by the Covid-19 outbreak.

With Hocking at its digital wheel, SCMP has launched partnerships with MOAT, Grapeshot, Amazon TAM, Google EBDA, Index Exchange Wrapper, and more. These partnerships are an extension of his mission to develop collaborative and proprietary solutions that will solidify Asian media publishers’ reputation in the global stage.

The thought leader in the adtech and publishing community also chaired the IAB HK programmatic board and sits on the chief digital officer board of WAN IFRA.

“From the UK to Hong Kong, [Hocking] has helped demystify and focus the news industry on our digital future. [He] has made profound contributions to increasing the digital proficiency at the South China Morning Post, the International News Media Association (INMA), and the larger news industry,” says Earl Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. 

Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 


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