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AOP’s publishing alliance Symmachia to launch in January with video inventory first to be sold


By Natalie Mortimer, N/A

December 9, 2015 | 3 min read

The AOP’s publishing alliance Symmachia is slated for a January launch date with display and video the first products to be sold.

Symmachia – the Ancient Greek word for alliance – was first announced in March this year, and is formed of some of the UK’s premium publishers including Telegraph Media Group and Time Inc.

Revealing the news at The Drum’s Programmatic Punch event in London yesterday (8 December) Julia Smith, consultant at AOP UK said that Symmachia has an “eight phase plan” product release that will see display and video inventory rolled out first, closely followed by mobile.

“When we formed the Alliance I had an eight phase plan which over the last few months, the order of the phases has changed, based on what the publishers and buyers need most...We will now launch with display and video first," she said. “Mobile is a tricky one because there is so much supply but low demand. I’m nervous about launching with so much supply, because it could be seen as a failure if we have low sell through. However, we still believe that this is an area of growth and we will look to offer it quickly - within months of launch. Audience data has also moved up the phases and we are planning to offer this to bidders soon after launch ”

Media buyers will be able to buy directly from a pool of inventory via the marketplace, as publishers look to protect their premium inventory and aim to offer advertisers the scale offered by Google while providing assurances of the quality of the content their ads will appear beside.

However, the effectiveness of Symmachia, and fellow publisher cooperative Pangaea, comes with a dose of scepticism, particularly amongst digital media buyers who have questioned the effectiveness of a model that comes with little transparency.

“You can still buy on the private marketplace with those individual sites, it’s another way of buying that is a bit less transparent… it’s another choice you have to make so what’s in it for advertisers?” Said Mark Syal, joint managing director and head of media practice at Essence.

“You don’t set floor prices for all of your partners so you are one cog in the yield tree… [and also] how can you combat ad fraud any more than individual partners can?”

Earlier this year Vogue publisher Conde Nast revealed it opted out of Symmachia believing that its unique content is best suited to selling inventory programmatically in a “bespoke, controlled” manner.

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