adGeek's The Studio, formerly owned by CtrlShift, folds Southeast Asia ops

The Studio, a programmatic advertising and marketing solutions company previously owned by CtrlShift and now majority owned by Taiwan-based marketing solutions firm adGeek Group, is folding operations across all markets it operates in - Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. 

Last year, adGeek acquired a majority stake of The Studio from CtrlShift and assumed full management control. The acquisition resulted in both adGeek and CtrlShift combining resources and expertise to meet the demands of clients across Asia Pacific. Both companies also worked collaboratively to support clients’ software and managed service needs.

Founder and CEO of adGeek Group, Frank Chen, told A+M that The Studio was impacted by the decrease in spending by its major clients in 2019. Since then, the market has unfortunately seen massive disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few months, "prompting a significant drop in ad spend and marketing operations from our clients".

"In a competitive marketplace, we are unable to predict when we would see it bounce back, and have had to make this difficult decision. The situation prompted us to transfer a part of its operation and stop the rest," he added. The Studio is expected to successfully transfer its clients to partners and agencies by 15 June. According to Chen, all clients were informed and have been working with the team on the transition. 

Among the list of clients The Studio has worked with include Nespresso, Boh Plantations, Siam Makro, SKY Cable and OPPO.

"The entity is still active and operational and we are going through an orderly process of reconciling and collections before any other decision is made. In the future, we hope we will again come back to ASEAN market with the excellency of technology and operation," Chen added. 

He also said that due to the constant movement of manpower, the company is unable to comment on the number of employees impacted by the closure. Earlier this year, former MD of The Studio, Syahar Khalid, left for Entropia and currently helms the partner for integrated media role.

The Studio was spun off from CtrlShift's SaaS business and established as an independent entity in July 2018, present in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Services provided by The Studio include programmatic advertising, audience-focused marketing solutions, and technology-based consumer engagement solutions ranging from data management platforms to chatbots.  

Separately in 2017, CtrlShift reorganised its business into three units - The Studio, The Hub, and The Lab, with The Hub at its core. The Studio focuses on providing audience-focused marketing solutions. The company was formed after the merger of programmatic buying firm AdzCentral with ad tech firms Better and Asia Digital Ventures in 2015. At the time of merger, CtrlShift comprised 130 employees across five Southeast Asian markets.

Related articles:
adGeek acquires majority stake in CtrlShift's The Studio
CtrlShift hires Syahar Khalid to build up high calibre senior team in MY