SINGAPORE - Asia Media Exchange (AsiaMX) has announced that a slew of regional and local TV channels from Southeast Asia have signed up to offer their premium advertising assets on its programmatic TV exchange.
Advertisers now have access to US$500 million in programmatic advertising assets via AsiaMX, which is a sizeable jump in inventory since its launch in April with US$60 million worth of assets.
Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific is one of the new additions, giving advertisers access to 19.3 million household subscribers in Southeast Asia through its flagship Discovery Channel, as well as content from TLC, Animal Planet, Eurosport and Setanta Sports.
NBCUniversal International Networks has also joined the exchange, offering entertainment programmes on DIVA, E! and Universal Channel. Earlier additions to the AsiaMX exchange include A+E Networks Asia, as well as Turner Asia Pacific with Cartoon Network.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Basil Chua, CEO of AsiaMX, said that most of the team’s time has been spent engaging and understanding the needs of media agencies and advertisers on how programmatic TV advertising fits in their strategy.
Thailand has been a particular focus for the company due to its highly competitive and fragmented market, thanks to the recent introduction of new DTT channels.
“We have spent most of our time in Thailand as a key market talking to media agencies across the board,” he said. “The good news is that agencies are extremely receptive to what we are doing.”
When asked which brands or media agencies are currently using the exchange, Chua said that a separate announcement around agency partners and clients will be made soon.
From Thailand, new listings include Mono Broadcast Co.’s Mono29, GMM Grammy’s ONE HD and Workpoint Entertainment’s Workpoint TV. Earlier listings include BEC-Tero Entertainment, National Broadcasting, OTV Corporation, Dek-D Interactive and Asia Satellite TV.
From Malaysia, PCCW’s over-the-top streaming service Viu joins the exchange to bring popular Asian dramas and variety entertainment to advertisers.
Programmatic's value proposition
Chua noted that programmatic TV advertising in this part of the world remains nascent, adding that there are two parts to the story: broadcast TV versus addressable TV (commonly known to the TV industry as streaming video that is delivered to Smart TV, websites and mobile apps).
“In the last few months, we have seen an acceleration of TV companies putting their highly valuable content on their own branded websites and mobile apps, moving away from Youtube,” he said. “That is a smart move, because this allows the TV companies to have greater control over the way they present their premium content to their viewers.”
At the same time, Chua added, they are able to build long-term advertising and sponsorship revenue around this strategy. However, audience numbers via such channels remain small and do not present a big opportunity for advertisers.
“We estimate no more than 5 percent of the total audience reach delivered by addressable TV,” he said, while on the other hand, broadcast TV continues to deliver the massive reach in any given market at cost-effective pricing.
According to research conducted by ZenithOptimedia, TV remains the most watched medium in Asia Pacific, with viewers forecast to increase in 2017. TV advertising expenditure also continues to climb, and is predicted to hit almost US$64.4 billion in 2017, growing nearly 1.5 percent from this year’s forecast.
“The question here is the TV companies’ ability to embrace the digitisation of their sales process by going programmatic,” said Chua. “By doing so, the TV companies will be able to connect their supply effectively and efficiently to buyers.”
Research firm Forrester has defined programmatic TV as “data-driven and audience-based TV planning and buying”, which Chua claims is exactly what AsiaMX plays into.
“That is why we are investing heavily to ensure our exchange is data-rich, curating and packaging TV channels based on target audiences and viewing time-belts,” he said. “Advertisers then select their preferred packages based on target-audience impressions, which is an efficient and focused way to achieve their media planning objectives.”
AsiaMX offers premium programmatic advertising assets from pay-TV and free-to-air networks via an algorithm-based platform. The exchange curates and packages TV channels based on target audiences and viewing time-belts.
Advertisers then select their preferred packages based on target-audience impressions, which is an efficient and focused way to achieve their marketing objectives.
The company has also introduced a private marketplace (PMP) offering to deliver bespoke media buying requests, that manages complex metrics required by most sophisticated media buying briefs.
Chua shared that most tend to make a direct comparison between programmatic TV and programmatic in the digital world. In reality, the two are different in terms of challenges and evolution so the concerns faced over the years with programmatic in digital media should not be brought over to the TV world.
“The biggest challenge has been to re-educate the market on the true value of ‘programmatic’,” he said. “It has often been marred with the concept of real-time bidding and cheap remnant (unsold/ unwanted) advertising inventory.”
This is not the case for programmatic TV advertising. Chua claims that AsiaMX trades only premium advertising inventory across all time-bands, primetime and non-primetime.
“We are very heartened to see how TV companies are extremely supportive of what we do as well as media buyers,” he said. “Just like how digital publishers embraced programmatic five years ago, today marks the start of the journey for TV companies to get on programmatic advertising.”