What's Trending in Asia-Pacific?

This is the third in a series of Q+A style blogs in which we ask our regional leaders about the latest trends, complexities and challenges facing their respective TV & digital ad markets. Up to the plate this week is Videology’s Managing Director, APAC, Ken Pao.

Q: What changes have you seen in the APAC video market over the last year or two? 

The process in getting the APAC market as a whole to adopt programmatic strategies and portfolio management tools has been slow, but rewarding. Generally, the concepts we’re preaching are new to many companies out there, and many are hesitant to deviate from the status quo. I equate this time in APAC to about 2008 or 2009 in the U.S. 

Something we mustn’t lose sight of is that APAC is extremely diverse – the nature of how business is conducted and the maturity of each market can vary a great deal. South Korea and Japan are very different from China, which is a very different market than Australia. But across all of these markets, we see the same trend: everyone’s headed in the direction of programmatic. Some are headed there faster, but they’re moving there. 

The keys to unlocking some of these Asian markets are education and just old-fashioned patience. Some of these markets, like Japan, are very traditional in nature, and it will take time to build the relationships and infrastructure to tie everything together.

That being said, we’ve seen some great advancements in terms of the willingness of companies to move past the education stage and begin testing out, what up until now, have just been concepts.

There’s no question APAC will go programmatic, it’s just a matter of when. 


Q: Is there a specific “X-factor” that will allow certain players to separate themselves from the pack?

It’s all about the data.

In today’s supply-constrained APAC, whoever can leverage their first party data to provide more value to advertisers and media companies will win in their particular markets. Simply, there’s just not a lot of 3rd party data. Companies like Yahoo! Japan are ahead of the curve for successfully seeing this trend, and leveraging their data.

Our partnership with Yahoo! Japan – which owns over 50% of search in Japan and is one of the largest internet portals in the world – allows us to take their 1st party data and layer it to help them drive better and more efficient targeting. We’re hoping to see more of these types of partnerships occur in Japan and other regions (even if they don’t include us!) to open up more opportunities for advertisers and publishers.


Q: How does Australia differ from the rest of the APAC region?

The market in Australia is definitely a different story when comparing to the rest of the region. Because a lot of the international digital agencies reach into Australia, the education level and relationships are a lot more advanced.

We’re seeing a great willingness to address the increasingly changing viewing patterns amongst consumers. In the first quarter, we really saw advertisers take some great strides in dealing with convergence – nearly 70% ran their campaigns on more than one device on our platform. In comparison, 58% of campaigns on the Videology platform ran on more than one device in the U.S. 


Q: How is the APAC region keeping up with convergence? 

Without doubt, consumers are moving rapidly across devices to consume content, but the current ad structure in most APAC markets just doesn’t support an environment to keep up with this rapid growth. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • A constrained supply in some APAC markets is due mostly to high costs of producing quality digital video content, and for this reason there are a lot of traditional media channels that simply don’t have a video strategy yet. While North America and some countries in Europe are re-purposing traditional TV content to digital video, it’s something that’s not really being done here yet – with the exception of Australia. There’s some hesitation around the idea because of a belief that it may hurt their linear TV business. Sound familiar?
  • Data is scarce, so from a cross-screen targeting perspective, the path to a common currency between TV and digital isn’t quite where it is in other global regions. That being said, I believe we’re heading in the right direction. Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (formerly Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings), for example, is now beginning to roll out across APAC, which offers a unified voice in measurement and verification.

As media companies and advertisers continue to warm up to and understand the value proposition programmatic video can offer, we’ll also likely see more of an investment in data solutions that can help ease the wave of cross-screen convergence that’s hitting the region. The more data there is, the greater it is for the entire market (especially those who don’t have first-party data).

Change is on the way, as it inevitably always is, and I’m extremely bullish on what’s to come. There’s a vast sea of unchartered potential and opportunity still waiting to be navigated.

Ken Pao

Managing Director, APAC

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