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Mediacorp and SPH team up to launch their own programmatic exchange

Singapore’s two biggest media giants, Mediacorp and Singapore Press Holdings, are to set up their own programmatic trade desk in a bid to make automated buying more “efficient” for advertisers.

The two media owners have signed a joint venture deal to create Singapore Media Exchange, an independently operated exchange that gives advertisers’ access to almost all their digital inventory.

The partnership follows similar moves by publishers in Thailand, which grouped together to combine their inventory under the Online Premium Publisher Association, and in Europe, whereby publishers including the Guardian and Reuters teamed up to form the Pangaea Alliance.

The trade desk will have access to digital inventory from SPH’s flagship titles, including The Straits Times and the recently licensed Business Insider, plus Channel News Asia, TODAY and catch-up television channel Toggle Entertainment from Mediacorp.

Mediacorp and SPH are now on the hunt for a chief executive officer, who is independent from both organisations, to lead the operation.

According to both organisations, the joint venture will work with third party verifiers to ensure the inventory is “brand safe”. Both SPH and Mediacorp denied the move is a cost-saving exercise, saying instead it will give clients “greater choice and scale”.

Explaining the move, Mediacorp’s chief commercial and digital officer Parminder Singh said: “Consolidation and scale are good for publishers because, if you look at the industry, there are many sites with mid-level traffic. If you’re an agency, having advertising open to just one publisher is a bit tricky because they may not offer economies of scale.

“Mediacorp and SPH do not suffer from that problem because we have enough sites to provide scale, but we believe joining forces will add greater scale for advertisers and agencies.”

In addition, Singh said, the exchange will be open to independent publishers as long as their content is of a “premium quality”.

SPH digital division’s executive vice president Julian Tan added: “Brand safety has become a big issue and a lot of our clients have asked what more can we do as publishers.

“We feel that together we can offer more choice and a brand safe environment. A more effective and efficient channel for our advertisers. Choice has become a big subject and brand safety has been a hot topic with our clients in the recent past.”

The joint venture claims it will commit to two billion video and display impressions annually across the platforms.

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