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“We probably didn’t know what we had till it was gone”: programmatic players respond to KPEX closure

Last month brought news that KPEX, the Kiwi Premium Ad Exchange consortium created in 2015 by Stuff, NZME, MediaWorks and TVNZ, is to close. The move is the result of changing market demands and shareholder priorities. Following the news, local programmatic players, Kargo and Acquire, have shared their thoughts.

Kargo is advocating agencies need to seek out viable alternatives and not give into calls to revert to quick return without long-term-strategy.

Kargo says the demise of KPEX has brought the real risk of more revenue going to the duopoly, who host but do not create content – and this will significantly impact local publishers and advertisers, in need of better experience for their consumers and marketers.

“The demise of KPEX is unfortunate. With the duopoly it is becoming harder and harder for publishers to gain market share and remain profitable,” says Robert Leach, general manager for APAC at Kargo.

“It is a double-edged sword – with local publishers struggling and closing up shop, many people turn to the duopoly with their mobile ad budgets. But the more that marketers resort to the duopoly, the more exacerbated this trend will become. The best bet for fighting this off is for publishers to band together.”

In its statement, Kargo says without creativity and cross-platform support, the closure of KPEX highlights how important it is for the market to have turnkey solutions to the duopoly, as well as supply to premium publishers, intuitive technology and targeting capabilities, as well as creative that evokes the reaction and emotion to provide consumers with better experiences.

Leach adds it believes that the best results are achieved through quality editorial environments and those environments only exist because of quality journalism.

“But advertising in quality environments also requires the right ad units, targeting, brand safety, anti-fraud measures. For the New Zealand digital media market to thrive, publishers must work together with their partners to seek out long term solutions.”

Acquire has also weighed in on the closure, with its programmatic director Zane Furtado saying an alliance like KPEX is sort of like a healthy relationship – you need transparency, patience, understanding and compromise to make it work.

Looking at it from the perspective of traders, he says the closure of KPEX means more work.

“KPEX gave buyers a platform to reach a targeted audience at scale across multiple New Zealand publishers – all while using a single deal ID when first price auctions were not common practise.

“The closure only means more work for traders to set up individual deals across all these publishers. We probably didn’t know what we had till it was gone.”

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