Q&A: WPP 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 Michel de Rijk of WPP’s Xaxis in SE 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 third of a four-part series. Watch for Sears' upcoming interview with Stephen Tompkins of Publicis' VivaKi. Be sure to read his interviews with Yean Cheong of IPG Mediabrands' Cadreon in SE Asia and Anna Chan of Dentsu Aegis' Amnet Asia.

Your Name: Michel de Rijk

Your Company: Xaxis

Your Title: CEO, APAC

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

DE RIJK: Don’t follow politics back home much anymore. Local politics via local news; art and culture by visiting galleries.

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

DE RIJK: Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp in that order.

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

DE RIJK: AdAge, Exchange Wire, Campaign Asia, LinkedIn

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

DE RIJK: Amstel Beer had a sequel around Champion League Football. Always gave me the right vibe.

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


  1. Viewability
  2. Accountability
  3. Creative Optimization

SEARS: On average company-wide 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?

DE RIJK: $0.08 - $0.10

SEARS: What will this number be in 2017?

DE RIJK: $0.25 - $0.35

SEARS: Tell us the about the global advertising operations of Xaxis.

DE RIJK: World's largest media and technology platform.

SEARS: Please tell us the percentage increase, managed budget (media spend) 2014 vs. expected 2015:

DE RIJK: 80% increment

SEARS: How many employees are there in your organization?

DE RIJK: 230+

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

DE RIJK: I don't know the rules of cricket. I'm Dutch!

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

DE RIJK: Yes, the tech is already available; waiting for adoption.

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


  1. Standardization of systems to gain scale in automated TV
  2. Advertisers who will question the current TV measurement tools

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?

DE RIJK: What is it that an advertiser wants? The best business results or to buy the raw materials; in this case inventory?

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”]
    DE RIJK: Yes
  2. Ability to leverage publisher first party data
    DE RIJK: Yes
  3. Ability to leverage advertiser first party data [against all publisher inventory, especially premium]
    DE RIJK: No
  4. Availability of rich media, expandable units and larger IAB Rising Star formats
    DE RIJK: Yes
  5. Ability to more easily curate audiences for specific advertisers across the premium content of multiple publishers
    DE RIJK: Yes

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?

DE RIJK: My mom and fly to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.

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

DE RIJK: We have been supporting Mother's Choice for the last four years. They do great work.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

DE RIJK: De Librije in the Netherlands.

SEARS: Thanks,Michel!

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