Plista rolls out in Singapore, Taiwan: ‘The time is right for a proper native ad offering in Asia’

Michel de Rijk: 'Native companies are going to publishers and want revenue guarantees. We don’t do it that way'

Xaxis boss Michel de Rijk: ‘Native companies are going to publishers and want revenue guarantees. We don’t do it that way’

Xaxis has rolled out Plista, its programmatic native advertising platform, in Singapore and Taiwan.

The regional head of GroupM’s programmatic trading firm Xaxis, of which Plista is now a part, said today that the opportunity to grow the native advertising market in the region is considerable – albeit from a very small base – because of the paucity of what is currently available to publishers and advertisers.

Talking to Mumbrella Asia, Xaxis CEO boss Michel de Rijk, said: “The time is right to launch a proper native offering in this region, which is why we’ve already launched in some markets.”

“There’s an opportunity to leverage existing relationships with publishers, or drive direct demand from advertisers,” he said.

As existing native spend in Asia is very limited, GroupM is “playing ahead of the game” with the roll out in Singapore and Taiwan, de Rijk noted.

“There hasn’t been a lot of talk about native advertising in Asia yet, mainly because of the very limited offerings in the market,” he said.

Of the players now in the market, de Rijk said that some have proved too expensive for publishers, because vendors have tried to tie them in with upfront spend commitments.

“Vendors give revenue guarantees but can’t deliver the actual revenue as they don’t have the relationship with the advertisers. So it’s a very short term fix,” he said.

Plista offers a “solid product,” de Rijk said, with a content recommendation engine that works well on mobile.

So far, Plista has shown particular progress in Australia, where the company launched a year and a half ago.

“Australia was a closed market. But we’ve signed all the big publishers there,” de Rijk said; 130 publishers have been signed in that market, he added.

In China, where Plista launched later, 50-75 publishers signed up.

The scale of adoption is lower in the other two markets where Plista has ventured, Thailand and Malaysia. De Rijk noted that half of the companies Plista is working with in these territories are from outside the GroupM fold.

De Rijk was asked if he saw native advertising as a way around adblockers, which are growing faster in Asia than anywhere in the world.

“From a publisher’s perspective we shouldn’t create technology to get around adblockers. That’s missing the point,” he said.

“As an industry, we have been pushing ad standards down in such an annoying way, which is why adblockers have come about. What we need to be doing is producing native ads in an integrated, relevant way that do not put the consumer off.”

Plista, an 8 year-old German company, was acquired by WPP in 2014, and was a standalone business within GroupM. It was absorbed within the Xaxis fold earlier this year.


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