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The days of the undisclosed programmatic model are numbered says PHD APAC boss

Susana Tsui at the Asia Pacific Media Forum today

Susana Tsui presenting at the Asia Pacific Media Forum today

The days of media agencies not being transparent with their clients about the margins they make from programmatic trading are numbered, the APAC head of PHD declared today.

Talking to Mumbrella after giving a talk at the Asia Pacific Media Forum in Bali, Susana Tsui said that transparency has been a key issue in every media pitch she has been involved in since she was hired to run the media network three years ago, and clients would rather take the function inhouse than use a media agency that is not above board about the money they make on programmatic trading.

“The undisclosed model era is coming to a close,” she said. “There will always be on-boarding of new clients to programmatic, but … those clients’ appetite for the undisclosed model is dwindling. Clients would rather have their own DSPs [demand-side platforms].”

“It’s a taboo topic no one wants to talk about, but if you look at it with your eyes wide open, transparency has always been key to shifts in the media business. The old model of blind trading is dead.”

“If you are still dreaming of the margins of the undisclosed model, that window is closing,” she said.

Though transparency maybe a key issue for programmatic at a regional level, PHD’s Indonesia GM Donna Arifin said today it was less an issue for her market locally, which is the region’s fastest growing programmatic market, according to data from Magna Global.

“I don’t think transparency [in programmatic] is an issue yet,” she said, adding that Indonesia is still very much in the trial phase for programmatic trading.

“Indonesians are thoroughly trustful of their agencies, as it’s a relationship-driven market. Until clients are told that transparency is an issue in programmatic, I don’t think they’d even ask about it,” she said.

Omnicom Media Group’s agency trading desk Accuen competes with likes of GroupM’s Xaxis and IPG Mediabrands’ Cadreon.

Xaxis’ APAC CEO Michel de Rijk said at an event in Malaysia late last year that his company has “always been transparent about the fact that we are a non-disclosed business,” adding that his firm is “as transparent as Google or Facebook.”

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