Media Prima pulls out of Malaysian consortium after just 5 months

One of Malaysia’s biggest media companies has exited a national alliance that aimed to help them claw back digital advertising revenue from Facebook and Google.

Media Prima, which owns the newspapers The New Straits Times and Berita Harian, has pulled out of the Malaysia Premium Publishers Marketplace just seven months after its launch, the company confirmed to Mumbrella.

Media Prima declined to comment further on the reasons for the pullout.

The remaining media owners – Star Media Group, Utusan Malaysia, MCIL and The Edge – however appear to be pressing ahead with the MPPM. This month, the body named both Innity and Dentsu Aegis Network as its media buying partners. 

Media consortiums – essentially a private ad exchange – have been touted as a way to help publishers gain higher yields on their digital inventory – and in theory boost their coffers against the gargantuan ad spend might of the Facebook-Google duopoly.

As Dataxu APAC vice president and general manager James Sampson recently explained: “From a marketer perspective, they have a locally relevant premium option at scale to advertise in outside of the non-premium environments of Google and Facebook.”

However, taking part in such a scheme requires media owners to make the initial leap and share their audience data – a move potentially fraught in Malaysia’s highly competitive media landscape.

Other similar ventures have been attempted unsuccessfully in Indonesia. 

Meanwhile, teething issues with Thailand’s equivalent Oppa were cited by Reza Behnam, the founder and chairman of Singapore-based ad tech company CtrlShift, during Lotame’s recent Ignite conference. Speaking at the time, Behnam described the situation as being like “herding cats”.

Yet, news of Media Prima’s exit emerges a month after the company posted a fourth quarter loss of S$127 million from a profit of S$1.6m in the previous corresponding quarter.

In addition, Media Prima said its revenue for last year declined by 7 per cent against the previous financial year due to lower advertising and newspaper sales.

In a statement at the time, the company said: “While the group has ventured into new digital and consumer-based business initiatives to complement its traditional media segments, these initiatives are still undergoing a gestation period.”


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