SPH and Mediacorp's JV Singapore Media Exchange hires Hari Shankar as CEO

Under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Hari Shankar, Singapore Media Exchange, the digital alliance between Singapore’s publishers Mediacorp and Singapore Press Holdings, will be officially operational from 8 May 2018. The joint venture to launch Singapore’s first premium advertising marketplace was first introduced in August 2017.

Shankar brings more than 15 years of experience in media management to the new role. Before joining SMX, he was the managing director at Ecselis, the strategic arm of the Havas Media Group. He previously held leadership roles at Paypal and Performics in Asia Pacific.

“Brands are looking for quality choices in the marketplace,” Hari Shankar (pictured left), CEO of SMX, said. “SMX is a harbinger of things to come in the programmatic space in Singapore, following similar developments in other parts of the world.”

AppNexus and Lotame have been selected as key technology partners after a six month review. AppNexus will power the advertising exchange across all digital channels and formats, while Lotame will underpin its data capabilities, including unifying audience data across its coalition partners. The technology partnership with AppNexus and Lotame closely follows the model behind Kiwi Premium Advertising Exchange, a similar publisher co-operative in New Zealand.

As part of its long-term product roadmap, SMX will continue to explore strategic collaborations and invest in new programmatic features to meet evolving advertiser needs. For example, SMX has a multi-screening capability that now enables advertisers to synchronise their programmatic buys real-time with TV event triggers. The ad sync feature leverages the strengths of Mediacorp’s TV reach to drive online-offline integrated marketing synergies. Such a capability has not been available in Singapore until now.

In addition, SMX will be one of the first strategic partners of the Advertising ID Consortium when it launches in the Asia Pacific region. In an increasingly complex digital ecosystem with fragmented identifiers from multiple platforms, the Consortium, founded by AppNexus, Index Exchange, and LiveRamp, is focused on driving adoption of a unified and open identity solution that vastly improves identity resolution so that buyers and sellers of programmatic advertising can deliver more relevant campaigns. By rallying around a standardised global framework, Consortium partners can achieve meaningful scale, create more impactful engagement, and deliver better consumer experiences.

Roger Moy (pictured right) , head of consumer Insights and Analytics at Mediacorp and chair of SMX, said, “Since announcing the SMX initiative, we have been firing on all cylinders to rethink a different kind of ad exchange that marries the unique strengths of our co-operative partners. The recent milestones and collaborations, from online-offline multi-screen ad sync, unified audience data insights to open identity solution adoption, bear testament to how the team has been listening and responding to our customers.”

According to comScore, Mediacorp and SPH are among the top five digital properties with the highest traffic in Singapore, collectively reaching three in four digital consumers every month. The SMX coalition brings together some of the best-known, market-leading digital brands across news, business, automotive, property, entertainment and lifestyle verticals under one roof. Through a single SMX programmatic platform, advertisers can now enjoy quality audiences at scale, and within brand-safe and trusted environments.

Beyond Mediacorp and SPH, SMX will be extending the co-operative to other like-minded publishers. There is already keen interest being seen from other publishers who are seeking alternative means to monetise their traffic.

Julian Tan (pictured centre), executive vice president, Digital Division, SPH and director of SMX said, “The commencement of this initiative is just the tip of the iceberg. Through the use of advanced programmatic technology, we are looking to build the premium programmatic marketplace in Singapore, offering advertisers a trusted environment at scale.”