Emily Tan
Dec 4, 2013

Exclusive: Xaxis APAC lead Michel de Rijk on merger with 24/7 Media

ASIA-PACIFIC – In Asia, WPP’s merger of its audience-buying arm Xaxis and its ad tech firm 24/7 Media will see the Media Innovation Group (MIG) and Real Media Group rebranded as Xaxis and headed by Michel de Rijk, Asia-Pacific managing director.

De Rijk: Merger brings tech closer to strategic needs
De Rijk: Merger brings tech closer to strategic needs

James Welch, regional director of MIG, and Jaewoo Chung, president of Real Media Group Asia, will both report to de Rijk. Xaxis does not foresee any changes to their roles, and they will retain their current titles while they consult with the company about their future designations. That process should be completed by the first quarter of 2014, according to Xaxis.

The move will expand Xaxis’ reach in the region to 13 markets with just under 200 employees.

The merger, announced early this morning Asia-Pacific time, aligns Xaxis’ technology development more directly with its strategic needs, explained de Rijk. “While we have always worked closely with 24/7, it was an independent company, which means there is some degree of misalignment," he said. "Although we’re both part of the WPP group, this does not mean that by default the right efficiencies are in place. This merger will no doubt bring technology and service closer to each other and all parties involved, including our clients.”

Following the deal, existing clients will be able to work with Xaxis in more markets and with more expertise, added de Rijk. “With the technology close to the strategic needs, we will be able to offer our clients faster product development.”

Xaxis’ business model of striking direct publisher deals on behalf of its clients will not change, he continued. However, 24/7’s technology will allow the audience-buying firm to do this “faster, more efficiently and with better yield.”

The new merged entity will manage more than US$750 million of audience-targeted media for more than 2,700 clients around the globe. De Rijk was unable to share Asia-Pacific’s percentage of this business or its projected growth. However, studies by eMarketer and IDC have forecast that Japanese adspend on RTB, which tripled in 2012, will grow 80 per cent this year, while China's RTB spending is expected to grow 300 per cent, with the rest of Asia-Pacific set to follow suit in 2014. 

“When Xaxis entered Asia Pacific in early 2012, we had a goal to launch 13 markets with local teams on the ground servicing hundreds of clients across the region,” commented de Rijk. “Next to our display, video and mobile solutions, we are in the midst of bringing exciting new products to the APAC region like Xaxis Radio and Xaxis Places.” The latter two offerings, as their names imply, bring audience buying to bear on radio spots and OOH advertising.

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