online publishers

online publishers

[Paula Raubenheimer (Managing Director, Southern X)]

1w ago
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[Creating an exclusive ‘MarketPlace’ for S.A.’s online publishers ... As any industry insider would testify, publishing is a tricky – and often laborious – business for both sides. Globally, there has been a move toward programmatic buying to make the process easier and more automated. Recognising this move, local group Southern X has positioned itself as ‘very much like a stock exchange’ - enabling advertisers to buy digital inventory from publishers that are local to South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa through real-time bidding auctions. We chatted to Paula Raubenheimer, Managing Director at Southern X‬, to find out more. “Southern X is a coalition of publishers that have put their inventory into the programmatic space, from the sales side,” she explains. “We are the first in South Africa to do it, with South African publishers…and we are putting South African publishers into the programmatic space.” Raubenheimer explains that programmatic buying is the ability to buy any kind of media through an interface – and it doesn’t just have to be digital. She says that in the U.S. and Europe, they are actually testing programmatic buying for radio and TV. “The idea is that you pick up your inventory through an interface,” she says. “You don’t have to pick up the phone and have to sign a hundred documents each time.” More automated & efficient Raubenheimer explains that RTB (Real Time Bidding) is the primary method of buying through programmatic. “You can also buy something programmatically but not using RTB,” she says. “You could agree on a price up front, and have an interface to purchase that inventory. The price could be set. So it’s important to understand these distinctions.” Raubenheimer emphasises that the idea of programmatic buying is that ‘we’re taking away a lot of unnecessary interactions with salespeople, and we’re making the buying process more automated and more efficient.’ One perceived downside is that, by adopting this approach, a huge environment of impressions is created, and Raubenheimer says there’s often a lot of devaluing of the impressions. “Certain impressions that aren’t seen as important because they’re in a big ‘bucket’,” she says. “It obviously starts making publishers more wary because their value can’t be discernible.” To get around this, she says that by being able to set the rules for S.A. publishers from the beginning, is a big plus. “When you can get all the publishers on board to agree on price floors and on rules of behaviour, you can really create an environment that isn’t just a big dumping ground for impressions and the value of each impression can be given its due,” she says. To achieve this, she explains that Southern X has worked with each publisher to decide on the best way forward: “Whether they want to supplement certain revenue that they are receiving from their direct sales team, or whether they don’t actually have a sales effort and would they like to put all of their inventory into that system…it’s about understanding what each impression is worth.” She adds: “There’s not an existing, predefined idea of what these impressions are worth, so we can set that bar immediately, and we can work with advertisers to make sure that they are actually able to pay that.” Establishing Trust According to Raubenheimer, in markets such as the U.S. and Europe, they’ve seen a lot of impressions from click farms - they’re not even from real publishers. “So the distrust that publishers have is equally weighed out by the distrust that buyers have,” she says. “Here [in S.A.], going into a marketplace from scratch, where it’s all open, we know exactly where things come from - that brand equity has the backing of real publishers that we know and trust. So we can create a more trusting environment, and by its very nature, it has more value.”]