Q&A: Dentsu Aegis SE Asia on Automation, Programmatic and TV

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
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The Summer of Sears continues! Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses "Automation, Programmatic and TV" with Anna Chan of Dentsu Aegis' Amnet Asia. The two executives appeared at Rubicon Project's 2nd Annual Real Time Trading Update from SE Asia's Buy Side in Bintan, Indonesia in July 2015.

This is the first of a four-part series. Watch for Sears' upcoming interviews with Stephen Tompkins of Publicis' VivaKi, Yean Cheong of IPG Mediabrands' Cadreon and Michel de Rijk of WPP's Xaxis.

Your Name:Anna Chan

Your Company:Amnet Asia

Your Title:Managing Director

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?

CHAN: Instagram

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?

CHAN: Facebook, Wechat, Instagram

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with our industry?

CHAN: AdExchanger, ExchangeWire, Mashable, ClickZ, TechCrunch

SEARS: What's your favorite commercial of all time?

CHAN: The original Budweiser Frogs Commercial

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation and programmatic, what are Amnet Asia's three biggest initiatives in South East Asia in 2015?


  1. Educate clients on the importance of considering viewability.

Client requirements in South East Asia tend to very KPI-driven and they often pursue lowest possible CPCs and CPMs, sometimes at the expense of viewability. Programmatic is able to filter out the less viewable ad spaces and target just quality ad spaces. While this would not be the cheapest option, it has much better potential to generate engagement and leads. The tradeoff between costs and viewability is something clients should be aware of when planning for online campaigns.

  1. Leverage more on cross device targeting.

While there is an increasing awareness that consumers are accessing multiple devices at once, cross-device targeting is not very sophisticated yet. The technology for this is something that our tech partners are offering or working on within the year, and Amnet's task will be to bring these technological improvements to our clients quickly and execute such campaigns beautifully.

  1. Begin programmatic TV trial.

Even though programmatic TV is still in the nascent stages of development, the more developed programmatic markets have some technology available for use and trial already. We hope to get South East Asia plugged into this global programmatic trend, starting perhaps with the clients served out of our bigger offices such as Singapore.

SEARS: On average companywide across South East Asia -- out of each $1.00 spent on media (all media, not just digital) by one of your advertisers, how much today (in 2015) is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

CHAN: About three cents. Some companies pick up faster than others, though most companies are not on the programmatic bandwagon yet.

SEARS: What will this number be in 2017?

CHAN: Six cents hopefully! This should be possible at the rate of new products and offerings coming from the industry and our collective push to promote the use of programmatic systems for smarter advertising.

SEARS: Tell us the about the global advertising operations of Amnet:

CHAN: Amnet, Dentsu Aegis Media's programmatic group, offers the only global programmatic offering through its scale, technology and people. We have invested in 400+ in-market programmatic specialists across NA, EMEA, APAC including China and LATM to help drive more data driven, effective and impactful advertising. Additionally to increase advertiser value, Amnet launched its own data management platform, called the Amnet Audience Center (AAC). The AAC enables the delivery of enhanced business outcomes for advertisers through better data integration, enhanced campaign reporting and richer audience insights. DAN clients have come to expect better outcomes by engaging at scale with Amnet.

SEARS: How many employees are there in your organization?

CHAN: Close to 400 people.

SEARS: Draw an analogy between the automation of television and a cricket game. Are we in the pre-game? Still driving to the stadium?

CHAN: We just played our first friendly match. Everyone has some understanding of how the game should work and what the playing field looks like, but no one is expert enough to show off high-level techniques and maneuver to score.

SEARS: How can advertising automation help the strategy and planning functions (directly or indirectly) at an advertising agency?

CHAN: Advertising automation is less prone to human error and whimsical judgements, since certain consistencies can be set in place with the machines. Ultimately the agencies can make strategic calls, but automation will keep us in check and on track.

SEARS: Can linear TV be automated, yes or no?

CHAN: Yes. It is a matter of having the imagination of possibilities in order to spur innovation, which may translate into an upgrading of linear TV technology. But that can happen only when the media owners have the motivation to do so.

SEARS: What two or three events or happenings will accelerate the automation of television?


  1. Increasing piracy. The ease with which users circumvent media owners through pirated online streaming etc. should be motivation for media owners to either improve their technology to safeguard their media products or to at least monetize the fact that people want to watch their media offerings for free. Either way it is likely to lead to the automation of TV.
  2. Losing audience. As traditional television loses its audience, TV station owners should have the incentive to reach out to the audience differently, or improve their advertising technology in order to monetize their inventory better.
  3. Progressive public broadcasters joining in. Since public broadcasters generally have more stable funding and no pressure to maximize returns, they can afford to take innovation risks that market players may not take.

SEARS: Transparency -- on media costs, on data, on inventory -- has become a lightning rod issue. Should transparency be a negotiated benefit for the advertiser client, yes or no?


SEARS: Which of the following will accelerate the automation of site direct (direct orders) budget? Pick all that apply:

  1. Dynamic access to all publisher inventory [vs. just "remnant" or "auction"]
  2. Ability to leverage publisher first party data
  3. Ability to leverage advertiser first party data [against all publisher inventory, especially premium]
  4. Availability of rich media, expandable units and larger IAB Rising Star formats
  5. Ability to more easily curate audiences for specific advertisers across the premium content of multiple publishers
  6. All of the above

CHAN: F. Opening up new possibilities will certainly drive innovation, leading to a virtuous cycle in which consumer interest will follow from the products and services resulting from innovation.

SEARS: If you could go to the airport right now with friends or family and fly anywhere in the world for vacation, who would you take and where would you go?

CHAN: I would like to take my dad to Shanghai, his birth place to meet his old friends and take a decent look at the city.

SEARS: If you could create an endowment to fund any existing non-profit you designated, what lucky non-profit organization would that be?

CHAN: I make regular monthly donations to OXFAM, UNICEF and the Hong Kong Cancer Fund now. If I were to choose a fourth organization, I would go for SPCA as I'm a dog lover. I have four dogs myself, two adopted from SPCA.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

CHAN: Bistecca Italian Steak House in Hong Kong. I like their steak!!!

SEARS: Thanks, Anna!

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