PubMatic co-founder and CEO Rajeev Goel wants to take a stake in Australia’s booming CTV market through its programmatic trading platform Activate.
The CTV programmatic solution, Activate, which aims to make direct sold CTV ad deals easier to trade in programmatic, launched in APAC in October. The local launch followed the US and EMEA earlier in 2023 with launch partners including Dentsu, FuboTV, GroupM, Havas, LG, Mars, and Omnicom Media Group Germany.
Goel told Mediaweek, that Australia is a significant market for the company due to the wealth of opportunity here.
“The opportunity that we see with Activate is that by our estimate, there’s about $65 billion of IO-based ad spend in CTV and online video that is trapped outside of the programmatic ecosystem. We’ve been talking to our customers and partners about why that spend is not moving into programmatic,” Goel tells Mediaweek.
“Clearly programmatic has certain advantages over traditional IO-based buying, and what we have come to believe is that there are structural challenges in the way the industry is set up today. Activate is really designed to help move those budgets into programmatic to drive better return on ad spend for advertisers and agencies, and increase revenue for publishers.”
With PubMatic looking to tap into CTV and BVOD in order to grow, Goel describes the team as “really focussed” on the goal of bringing that $65 billion across to programmatic.
“Particularly with high CPM campaigns, like in CTV and online video, these percentages of overhead and operational complexity are really significant from an advertiser perspective. We think it’s particularly important for Activate to be focused on those ad formats.”
When asked what the goals for Activate in APAC will be, and how the team will measure the success of the product, Goel said that “We’re going to be really focused on the buyer and publisher uptake on Activate.”
“From a buyer perspective, what advertisers and agencies are adopting the solution, what volume of campaign budgets are they bringing? What are the renewals around those campaigns? We’re really looking at it from the perspective of adoption from the buyers, because that will tell us that it’s compelling, and they’re able to successfully move budgets from IO to into programmatic.
“From a publisher perspective, we’re going to be looking at what kind of revenue increases we’re able to drive versus the traditional IO-based approach to selling.”
Activate Down Under
Reflecting on the state of the Australian market and what it was that makes AAPC so significant for PubMatic and Activate, Goel said that the market “is quite advanced, particularly around BVOD, CTV, and streaming, but there’s not a huge number of players in the market yet.”
“A market like the US is a much more wide-open market, and you have all sorts of different challenges and new media coming in. Here in Australia, it’s a bit of a smaller community in the sense that big advertisers all know the big publishers and traditional media companies. You have some new folks coming in like Netflix or Amazon Prime, but it’s a more close-knit environment.
“Those two attributes make Australia, in particular within the APAC region, a really important market for us and for Activate.”
Moving Towards the Open Internet
With companies like Meta and Google acting as such massive players in the digital ad space, Goel said that the dominance of major tech companies has meant that “We’re seeing a shift from walled gardens and social media buying towards a more open internet.”
“There are a lot of antitrust cases around the world, not just here in Australia, but in Europe and the US, said Goel.
“That’s one aspect of it. The second is that there’s been a huge, significant identity data advantage that walled gardens have had. With the growth of CTV and BVOD streaming, a lot of those users are logged in so brands know who the customer is, their viewing habits, and therefore, what ads might be relevant for them. That is now moving into the open internet, and at the same time, the open internet has great quality content.
“Advertisers are more and more careful about the content that they show up next to – there’s hate speech, misinformation, and all of those types of things to contest with. The value proposition of the open internet is growing at a rapid rate. That is absolutely an opportunity.”
Top Image: Rajeev Goel