Four major global publishers – the Guardian, CNN International, the Financial Times and Reuters – have come together to launch a programmatic private marketplace, called Pangaea Alliance.
The alliance gives brands and media buyer the opportunity to nab some online ad inventory on these premium mastheads, and the combined audience of 110 million globally suggests this alliance is one to be reckoned with.
Speaking to B&T, Duncan Arthur, commercial director at Guardian Australia, said one of the main reasons for them all teaming up was to keep themselves powerful in a saturated market.
“Rather than be divided and gobbled up by some of the really big players, there’s an opportunity to band together and be more powerful,” he said, adding brand safety was another issue the publishers wanted to address.
“When they first realised there was an idea there it really hinged on making sure the partners were of comparable quality…you’ve got a stable of really solid brands coming together.”
The question was looking at the ad experience and how it can work better, said Arthur.
“The publishers are coming together on new formats, so effectively one point of contact can then buy across an enormous geography.”
It’s always going to be a little nerve-wracking becoming transparent with those who used to be your competitors. It’s a hurdle many other companies probably have a hard time getting their head around, explained Arthur.
“If it was just a bunch of sites glued together, that’s just a network and this isn’t that. This is clearly a proper alliance.”
“Not everyone is probably ready to do it,” he added. “I think they can see more upside than risk. There’s a massive upside to becoming a, let’s say, a ‘must buy’ in programmatic campaigns.
“If you’re doing that individually you’re much much smaller and you may not get noticed, but if you come together you’re going to be hard to ignore when you start delivering on audiences.”
The technology behind the programmatic is powered by Rubicon Project, with the beta testing phase beginning from April 2015. The full launch is expected later this year, with the Pangaea Alliance creating its own internal sales team.
It will only be over the publishers’ digital offerings, and Arthur explained it was not designed to directly compete with the companies’ own sales team.
“It can sell an attractive audience across those environments to make sure they’re capturing the premium inventory that otherwise may have been dealt with as a low-value programmatic backsell,” he said.
“It’s elevating inventory and looking at audiences and offering great creative experiences to those audiences at great scale.”
“I think alliances are a sensible strategy. The programmatic market is growing so strongly and that’s really where we’re looking at, how to harness that, how to work with that.”
By agreeing to working together and start collaborating on sharing first party data, that’s a significant part of what starts to make this really valuable for a buyer.”
From the global press release, the publishers have shown a number of benefits for brands.
Global quality at scale: The 110 million user-strong audience reached by the alliance is made up of highly influential and affluent individuals – one in four people are in the top income segments and one fifth are C-suite/senior management executives. Pangaea’s global reach is incredibly strong, with readers spread across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, making it the perfect solution for pan-regional campaigns.
Trust and heritage: With hundreds of years of collective publishing experience, Pangaea gives brands access to respected media companies which bring innovative thinking and a deep understanding of the future of digital publishing. Pangaea also allays advertisers’ concerns about the ‘black box’ of programmatic spending – brands can be safe in the knowledge their creative is appearing next to quality content.
More effective targeting: With partners sharing their first-party data, Pangaea will also offer advertisers the unique ability to understand an audience like never before, delivering hyper-targeted campaigns and deeper connections with readers.
Unparalleled creativity and innovation: Pangaea will allow brands to advertise using the most creative, technically advanced and engaging advertising formats on the market. This gives them the ability to create a coherent story across their media partners, and more meaningful relationships with prospective customers.
Ease of use: Pangaea creates a uniform, media-rich experience across one simple programmatic buy. Ads will work seamlessly across all the publishers, and advertisers will be able to liaise with just one point of contact for all publishers within the alliance.