Fairfax Media and Mi9 have announced the formation of the Australian Premium Advertising Exchange (APEX), a joint venture company under the leadership of CEO Pippa Leary, designed to bring a broad and premium mobile programmatic offering to the Australian market.
Launching in early 2015, APEX is Australia’s first brand-safe, content-driven source of mobile advertising inventory; promising buyers all the efficiency of Real Time Bidding (RTB) across an unprecedented quality of inventory from more than 50 well known locally created mobile sites and apps. The premium mobile inventory sold through APEX at launch is expected to comprise mobile properties owned and operated by Fairfax and Mi9, in addition to third party publishers such as Daily Mail Australia.
APEX is transformative for the Australian programmatic market, which is forecast to grow to $1.4Bn by 2018. The opportunity for advertisers to target mobile audiences through local content, produced by local publishers for a local audience is expected to drive further significant growth.
APEX is powered by AppNexus, the world’s largest independent advertising technology company, serving publishers and advertisers in 23 countries.
Marc Barnett, Mi9 chief operating officer and inaugural chairperson of the APEX joint venture, said he was excited to be working in partnership with Australia’s top publishers to launch this exchange to market.
“Advertisers have told us they want the efficiencies of real-time bidding, but they want certainty that their ads will appear in brand safe environments next to quality Australian content. This new mobile exchange gives advertisers a single platform to execute campaigns to a valuable premium and engaged audience, on a scale offered nowhere else in the local market. APEX is the new benchmark, combining brand safety, volume and value,” said Barnett.
Fairfax Media Commercial Director, Tom Armstrong, said: “The publisher coalition model has been proven effective in Europe and we are delighted to bring it to Australia at a time of dramatic growth in this market. There has long been a need for an environment that offers premium mobile inventory at scale and this exchange directly responds to what our advertisers have been telling us. Advertisers can now receive unprecedented access to premium Australian audiences on the go, at scale, and in a truly efficient way.”
Daily Mail Australia chief revenue officer, Melanie Scott, said: “Our clients want efficiency, but we also know they’re increasingly concerned about the risks of automated ad placement. I’m pleased that DMA inventory is being sold through a partnership that is solving this problem.”
All participating publishers in APEX will maintain their unique, direct sales operations with a portion of their inventory flowing into the exchange for bidding by agencies. Inventory from these leading publishers will be ‘brand-safe’ in that it is high quality, professionally created content.
Fairfax and Mi9 today also announced Pippa Leary as CEO of APEX. Leary has more than 20 years’ experience in digital, media and marketing, most recently as Fairfax Media’s director of strategy and market insights, responsible for setting the strategic direction for the division across print, online, mobile and other new platforms.
Prior to this role, Leary was the managing director of the media division at Fairfax Digital with responsibilities including sales, product development, syndication, strategy and marketing. Leary also spent five years in senior roles at ninemsn including Lifestyle business manager and network services director.
Speaking on Leary’s appointment, Barnett said: “Pippa is an experienced media executive with a strong understanding of the Australian digital market. The board members and I will work closely with Pippa as she leads the launch of Australia’s premium exchange.”
Leary said: “This is a milestone in the Australian digital media industry. To have three of Australia’s leading online content publishers come together to offer the local advertising industry a marketplace where only high quality, locally managed digital advertising inventory is assured, is very powerful.
“I’m looking forward to working with the publishers, AppNexus and media agencies to launch Australia’s largest, fully premium mobile exchange.”