Headquartered in Los Angeles, the network—which partners brands with YouTube and online video stars—already has well-established operations in China, and says it will be rolling out a number of offices in the region in the coming months.
“We've studied Southeast Asia very carefully and believe that now's the time to expand fully into the region,” said Mark Ingrouille, Thoughtful's EVP for international operations. “Thailand is the first in Southeast Asia to have a fully operational ‘on the ground’ office, but we're already at advanced stages to roll out in five other markets this year. We already have recruitment teams in our LA offices dedicated to these markets,” he added.
Somyot Chairat, formerly head of McCann, Publicis and Starcom in Thailand, has been appointed as managing director of the Bangkok office, which will officially open on 26 February.
The news of Thoughtful Media’s expansion in the region follows an announcement earlier this month that Commercialize TV (CTV), a multi-channel network and content distributor, has expanded its footprint in Asia-Pacific by launching in China in conjunction with Baidu.
Ingrouille, who previously headed McCann Worldgroup and Publicis in the region, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that multi-channel networks are “probably the fasting growing areas in marketing communications at the moment.”
“Serious marketers are demanding ever more efficacy from their stretched budgets. With our endorsed and integrated products delivering at least ten times the value of standard advertising, our biggest problem is going to be keeping up with demand,” he said.
Ingrouille described Thoughtful as an “entertainment company founded by Hollywood producers, finance guys and ad agency people”. The network manages and trains thousands of YouTube creators and online video stars, across all categories including beauty, sports, gaming, automotive.
The network then matches the talent with advertisers and develops online video content and programming. Brands that have worked with Thoughtful Media include Ford, Unilever, Gillette, Johnson & Johnson and Apple.
According to Thoughtful, there are over 300 Thai channels already signed up to the network in Thailand, delivering over 65 million views per week on YouTube with two million hours of viewing (and a million shares) every day.
For brands, Ingrouille says that MCNs offer incredible efficacy. “It's an entirely new approach for marketers, where they can tap straight into an already enthusiastic audience and match their product or service to an established audience,” he said.
Adding: “It’s also scary for some marketers, as they have to lose a bit of creative control to make it work.”
Following the planned office openings in Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, Thoughtful said operations in Australia were "not far behind."