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Asia slow to embrace programmatic video and still prefers ‘blind buying’ through ad networks, says SpotXchange exec

Christopher Blok

Christopher Blok

Asia has been slow to embrace programmatic video trading compared to Australia, North America and Europe, and continues to depend heavily on ad networks and “blind buying”, an executive at ad tech firm SpotXchange has said.

Christopher Blok, APAC director of demand for SpotXchange, a US-headquartered programmatic trading firm with offices in Sydney and Singapore, told Mumbrella that advertisers in Asia still prefer “the ease of a blind ad network buy” and are not paying publishers “the true value” for their inventory.

“Ad networks were created to help advertisers buy impressions quicker, easier and cheaper,” he said in an interview with Mumbrella.

“They aggregate inventory from many publishers, overlay some audience targeting, mark it up, and sell it for a profit. In many cases, the buyer has little idea of what and where they are buying.

“Programmatic technology introduced transparency to the market and we have seen huge shifts towards automated buying through programmatic platforms, particularly in Australia, Europe and the USA.

But the transition to programmatic video has yet to be seen at the same pace in Asia compared to other regions, Blok said.

“Many buyers are still preferring the ease of a blind ad network buy, trading off the quality of the impression, brand safe environment and of course not paying publishers the true value for their inventory,” he said.

“Video advertisers are also forgoing the opportunity to target more effectively using the power of the data programmatic affords. Many Asian video buyers are missing out on ‘addressable’ media buys because of the market’s slowness to innovate,” Blok said.

His views echo those of Kimberly Clark global head of marketing technology and innovation Muyur Gupta, who in March said at an event in Asia that the region’s relatively slow uptake of programmatic video is partly due to diversity.

“We need to attribute some of that slow adoption to a simple fact that Asia-Pacific is not a homogenous region like North America. The landscape is highly fragmented and traditional big media players have struggled in leading markets due to unique local cultures, business models, and consumer behaviours. The trend is certainly changing, though,” he said.

SpotXchange opened an office in Singapore in February of this year, its first outside of Sydney. APAC MD Matt Von der Muhll said then that he expected to see Asia make up 30 per cent of APAC revenue by the end of 2015, up from two per cent two years ago.

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