YOUR NAME: Shane Cunningham

YOUR COMPANY: Reuters

YOUR TITLE: Global Commercial Director

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

CUNNINGHAM: Reuters, BBC and Financial Times are a few of my remaining bastions of objective and impartial reporting.

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

CUNNINGHAM: Being a South African that has spent 30 years in South Africa, eight years in London and eight years in New York, my friends are spread far and wide. I generally use the phone (call and text) to keep up with my friends. Alternatively Facebook allows me to get a sense of what my nearest and dearest are up to.

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

CUNNINGHAM: I have a wide array of vertical titles I read, each offering insight into specifics around product, mobile, video, programmatic and general industry updates. The list is broad.

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

CUNNINGHAM: Sony “balls” for Sony Bravia television in 2005. Filmed on the streets of San Francisco, with a stirring track from Jose Gonzalez. It’s beautifully shot and the perfect alignment of visual and audio.

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation and programmatic, what are Reuters’ three biggest company-wide initiatives for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016?

CUNNINGHAM:

  1. Global tech and commercial alignment. Ensuring a more streamlined approach to our tech as well as monetization of our inventory via exchange and private market place.
  2. A bigger focus on private market place. Our client base is increasingly seeking trusted environments and quality audience segments. Emphasizing the benefits of private market place trading continues to be a big focus for us.
  3. A focus on quality. Our readers rely on the quality, objectivity and timeliness of Reuters content. Similarly our ad real estate stands up to quality around delivery and relevance.

SEARS: What was the rationale for Reuters joining the Pangaea cooperative? What is the opportunity?

CUNNINGHAM: Our rationale for joining the Pangaea alliance was to offer our clients access to quality global audiences at scale, with similarly respected media partners. The five members are respected and trusted brands with a solid heritage and strong credentials in the digital landscape. To be able to access this alliance in a private market place affords our clients the benefits of that heritage and trust at scale.

SEARS: Who are the members of Pangaea? What is the criteria? How long was it in formation and do you imagine the expansion of its membership?

CUNNINGHAM: Pangaea launched in March of this year, consisting of Reuters, Guardian, FT, CNN and the Economist. We met as a collective earlier in 2014 with the aim of forging a quality alliance for our media partners seeking additional scale of quality audience segments. There is a similarly aligned respect amongst the members and our global reach is incredibly strong. With 110 million users largely made up of highly influential and affluent individuals there was a natural alignment that we all recognized. With hundreds of years of collective publishing experience, Pangaea gives brands access to respected media companies, which bring innovative thinking and a deep understanding of the future of digital publishing.

SEARS: What is the current state or the near term plan to integrate Pangaea into Reuters’ sales and operations?

CUNNINGHAM: Reuters is already fully committed to Pangaea and we have Pangaea embedded into our commercial and operations teams across all regions. We have been live for six months and we work as an alliance in the purest sense of the word, with representation and support from all members across both sales and operations. The easy bit was getting agreement amongst the steering committee members that this was something that would be valued by our client partners. There is mutual respect and we have a similar vision of success. Education and the evolution of Pangaea are ongoing, and we have frequent meetings to ensure we stay committed to our agreed objectives.

SEARS: Media owner first party data is a key leverage point for the best known media brands. How do you leverage your first party independently and how is media owner first party data leveraged with Pangaea?

CUNNINGHAM: We have been working with our client partners for some time, ensuring access to quality audience and site data, whether in the capacity of the programmatic landscape or working with us on direct initiatives. Through the Pangaea alliance we can create broader audience segments and offer access to these users across all regions.

SEARS: Ad automation/programmatic has been used smartly as the “tip of the spear” (a lead strategy) for entry into global markets. Have you pursued this strategy independently? And does Pangaea contribute to this strategy?

CUNNINGHAM: Yes to both. Ad automation will continue to gain momentum. While we generate revenues in areas beyond programmatic, this is clearly an area we will continue to invest in.

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

CUNNINGHAM: Being part of the world’s largest news agency means we have tremendous reach, and access to users who rely on the speed and reliability of Reuters coverage. With 17 global websites, nine of which are local language, we have access to senior decision makers in most corners of the world.

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?

CUNNINGHAM: It would be a house boat cruise down the Amazon with my wife and three kids. Alternatively a safari with my family and friends is always a welcome treat when I make my way back to South Africa.

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

CUNNINGHAM: NSPCC, which supports abused children.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

CUNNINGHAM: That would have to be my favorite restaurant in the world with my favorite person. A porterhouse for two with my lovely wife at Keens in New York while enjoying a fine claret on a cold wintery day is pretty tough to beat.

SEARS: Thanks, Shane!

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