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‘Traditional publishers see programmatic trading as a threat’

Stu Spiteri

Stu Spiteri

Traditional media owners feel threatened by programmatic trading and are “fundamentally defensive” about its growth in Asia, the head of a tech firm specialising in the area has said.

“In the next three-five years, all media will be programmatically traded,” said Stu Spiteri, CEO of Brandscreen. “Every marketer wants a way to buy media in a more transparent and efficient way.”

“But unfortunately the entrenched media companies see programmatic buying as a threat, and they are fundamentally defensive about it,” he said.

“Programmatic presents is an opportunity for publishers to get to know their audience better, and if they don’t take it there is a risk they will become out of touch with their customers.”

The volume of the media market that is traded automatically is estimated to be worth US$500m in Asia. It will double next year, and will reach US$2.3bn by 2016, Spiteri has predicted.

But a traditional mindset on the publisher side remains an obstacle, he said.

“Premium publishers have traditionally secured revenue through upfront transactions that are bound in a fundamental set of assumptions of age, demographic and behaviour,” said Spiteri.

“This does work – publishers move product as a result. But the question is at what price, with what return and what level of wastage?”

Talking about the agency trading desk model, which has caused controversy in the US over a perceived lack of transparency, Spiteri said the industry was still finding its feet.

“The business model is still being established, just like many parts of the ecosystem. I built the region’s ad network, 24/7 Media Asia, and it took time for the industry to get to grips with the model then, and how it worked. Some will buy in, some won’t,” he said.

Over the next four years, China, Japan and Australia will emerge as the region’s largest markets for programmatic buying, with Singapore as the regional hub, Spiteri predicted.

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