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The state of programmatic video in APAC

Programmatic in APAC has evolved significantly over the past few years but with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, the rest of APAC still lags behind the US and EMEA in terms of maturity.

That being said, emerging markets in Southeast Asia are growing exponentially faster than developed markets. One of the most interesting areas of evolution is the video ecosystem and the innovative opportunities that both buyers and sellers of inventory are starting to explore.

BVOD presents an exciting opportunity for advertisers

Historically, video media spend in APAC has been largely driven via traditional TV, as well as the digital video offerings of walled gardens such as YouTube and Facebook. More recently, the emergence of Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD), a supply of premium broadcaster video inventory, has introduced a new opportunity for customers to look at a consolidated video strategy across multiple screens, as well as the ability to manage frequency capping based on device IDs and IP addresses.

BVOD’s emergence into the programmatic ecosystem now gives DSPs access to TV viewers, bringing more efficiency to buying and measurement, and a more holistic offering to agencies and clients. This evolution comes at a good time and is positioned to align with how viewers of broadcaster content are increasingly shifting their consumption from traditional TV to connected TVs, mobile devices and IP-driven OTT (Over The Top) devices. The transformation in how TV content is accessed will shape the future of our market, and in the next few years, all TV will become addressable and screen-agnostic, allowing broadcasters to offer more data-driven targeting to their advertiser partners.

Hurdles in an evolving programmatic landscape

As was the case in other regions when programmatic digital video increased in popularity, channel conflict within broadcaster businesses currently presents a challenge in APAC, as many direct and programmatic sales teams still sit in silos. With time and increased collaboration, this challenge will be alleviated. Publishers and broadcasters that will be successful in growing their businesses are those that embrace automation and technology as part of their strategy.

Programmatic has introduced a completely different way for buyers and sellers to transact. It has changed how all parties involved think and execute media buying. For an advertiser, they have more access to measuring their media investment and the ability to bring their first-party data to the table. For the media agency, they can have access to campaign performance in real-time in order to optimize their buy quickly and efficiently. For the creative agency, they are able to leverage audience insights from media to build their strategy and build creative versioning on the fly that can deliver more relevant messaging to the customer. On the publisher side, they can cut down the workflow it takes to transact a direct IO buy by leveraging technology and automation to deliver inventory to the buyer. All these changes to how these parties engage with each other have created a significant shift in the ecosystem.

One major challenge publishers face in Southeast Asia is the internal employee incentivisation around programmatic. Many publisher teams are not commissioned on selling programmatically, which in turn, develops a lack of commitment against anything that is executed through programmatic pipes. This being said, some companies are starting to think about merging their direct sales teams with programmatic teams to change this mindset that programmatic threatens their sales strategy. This approach to restructuring shows the desire for publishers to future-proof their businesses for the changing media ecosystem.

The importance of developing a cross-screen video strategy

Another challenge APAC publishers are confronted with is around the adoption of supply that is outside of the tried-and-tested digital plan. One of the most under-leveraged types of inventory is mobile in-app supply, which has large volumes across the region. In-app supply not only reaches a multitude of audiences but is also highly viewable and targetable with a device ID. It tends to have higher than average completion rates and is in abundance in high-growth markets where a mobile device may be the only screen a user has access to. This is an enormous opportunity to advertisers which isn’t currently being utilized to its full potential.

Looking at the broader picture, buyers need to start exploring is how to diversify their video strategy. Too often, advertisers pressure their agencies to buy YouTube and Facebook, as they believe they can get the highest reach by tapping into these two channels. Advertisers should consider a multi-channel approach – there are a number of premium video opportunities outside of the walled gardens that bring additional benefits such as audience data, exclusive audiences, and content relevance that buyers wouldn’t have access to otherwise, not to mention brand safety. When consolidating this premium inventory into the wider open auction programmatic strategy, buyers can reach incremental audiences by frequency capping across the entire digital buy, giving advertisers greater reach across unique users.

Kevin Smyth is general manager of South East Asia at Telaria.