Singapore Media Exchange Launches Ad Marketplace with Shankar at Helm

Singapore Media Exchange (SMX), the digital alliance between Singapore’s premium publishers Mediacorp and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), has launched under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Hari Shankar. The joint venture to launch Singapore’s first premium advertising marketplace was announced in August 2017.

A digital media marketing veteran, Shankar brings more than 15 years’ experience in media management to the new role. Before joining SMX, Hari was the Managing Director at Ecselis, the strategic arm of the Havas Media Group. He previously held leadership roles at Paypal and Performics in Asia-Pacific.

“Brands are looking for quality choices in the marketplace,” said Hari Shankar, CEO, SMX. “SMX is a harbinger of things to come in the programmatic space in Singapore, following similar developments in other parts of the world. I am incredibly excited to lead this initiative to deliver a premium, brand-safe alternative for programmatic buyers in Singapore.”

According to comScore, Mediacorp and SPH are among the top five digital properties with the highest traffic in Singapore, collectively reaching three in four digital consumers every month. The SMX coalition brings together some of the best-known, market-leading digital brands across news, business, automotive, property, entertainment and lifestyle verticals under one roof. For example, the Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia and Today Online are the top three most-visited news sites in Singapore. Through a single SMX programmatic platform, advertisers can now enjoy quality audiences at scale, and within brand-safe and trusted environments. 

Beyond Mediacorp and SPH, SMX will be extending the co-operative to other like-minded premium publishers. There is already keen interest being seen from other publishers who are seeking alternative means to monetise their traffic.

Julian Tan, Executive Vice President, Digital Division, SPH and Director of SMX said, “The commencement of this initiative is just the tip of the iceberg. Through the use of advanced programmatic technology, we are looking to build the premium programmatic marketplace in Singapore, offering advertisers a trusted environment at scale. With this alliance, we also hope to seek out ‘others like us’ to partner so that SMX can widen its reach beyond Mediacorp and SPH, as well as deepen its data depth.”

AppNexus and Lotame have been selected as key technology partners after a six-month review. AppNexus will power the advertising exchange across all digital channels (desktop, mobile) and formats (display, video, native), while Lotame will underpin its data capabilities, including unifying audience data across its coalition partners. The technology partnership with AppNexus and Lotame closely follows the model behind Kiwi Premium Advertising Exchange, a similar publisher co-operative in New Zealand.

“AppNexus’ mission is to help the world’s best media companies build sustainable advertising-supported businesses for the digital age,” said Michael Rubenstein, President, AppNexus. “We’re very proud that SMX has chosen AppNexus to power advertising for Singapore’s most vibrant and premium media companies. AppNexus is the technology partner of choice for similar coalitions and networks worldwide, and this partnership further solidifies that.”

“We are thrilled to be the data management platform partner of choice for this much awaited initiative,” said Alex Sibois, Managing Director, APAC at Lotame. “With our platform powering SMX’s coalition audience data, we are excited about the richer data insights and targeting opportunities that can be achieved concertedly for their advertising clients.” 

As part of its long-term product roadmap, SMX will continue to explore strategic collaborations and invest in new programmatic features to meet evolving advertiser needs. For example, SMX has a multi-screening capability that now enables advertisers to synchronise their programmatic buys real-time with TV event triggers. The ad sync feature leverages the strengths of Mediacorp’s TV reach to drive online-offline integrated marketing synergies. Such a capability has not been available in Singapore until now.

In addition, SMX will be one of the first strategic partners of the Advertising ID Consortium when it launches in the Asia-Pacific region. In an increasingly complex digital ecosystem with fragmented identifiers from multiple platforms, the Consortium, founded by AppNexus, Index Exchange, and LiveRamp, is focused on driving adoption of a unified and open identity solution that vastly improves identity resolution so that buyers and sellers of programmatic advertising can deliver more relevant campaigns. By rallying around a standardised global framework, Consortium partners can achieve meaningful scale, create more impactful engagement, and deliver better consumer experiences.

Roger Moy, Head of Consumer Insights and Analytics at Mediacorp and Chair of SMX, said, “Since announcing the SMX initiative, we have been firing on all cylinders to rethink a different kind of ad exchange that marries the unique strengths of our co-operative partners. The recent milestones and collaborations, from online-offline multi-screen ad sync, unified audience data insights to open identity solution adoption, bear testament to how the team has been listening and responding to our customers. We are excited by the possibilities.”



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