Aussie startup launches traditional media advertising marketplace

MediaPinch aims to open up self-service model of digital advertising with marketplace for offline media buying and selling

A new Australian company is hoping to shake up the traditional media landscape with a fresh online marketplace for ad trading.

MediaPinch is the brainchild of Vocus Communications CMO, Jon Amery, and head of operations, Matt Walsh. The aim is to provide agencies as well as direct brand owners with the ability to buy their own traditional media under a self-serve model. Amery was among the top 10 marketers listed in the CMO50 for 2015 and 2016.

The ambition is to open up traditional media advertising formats, such as out-of-home, print, press, cinema and radio, through a single online marketplace of buyers and sellers. While it’s early days, the company has started with an emphasis on out-of-home, striking agreements with a number of suppliers, including QMS, to upload inventory to the marketplace in order for media agencies and direct brands to buy it directly.

Amery told CMO that unlike the more modern programmatic means and in-house trading desks now being used to buy and sell digital advertising, traditional media trading continues to operate under an antiquated model. He highlighted price transparency, speed and ease of transaction and data insight as just a few of the gaps between online and offline media buying today.

“Most other industries have had that broker-style model, such as travel, insurance, share trading – it’s all been digitised,” he said. “They all now have self-serve tools that allow people to see what’s available and act on it.

“Media buying has so much cloak and dagger to it. Prices aren’t transparent, what’s available is hard to determine, and it’s often a long and painful process. I came up with the idea as I have been going through it myself, particularly around distress advertising.”

Amery and Walsh have spent the past two years researching and building the marketplace, which officially launched this week. The initial focus for MediaPinch was distress and discounted inventory, which Amery estimated accounted for about 20 per cent of supplier stock on average.

For suppliers, the site offers the ability to upload inventory promptly and adjust prices through the course of a sales cycle. The built-in management tools also ensure suppliers have final approval on anyone looking to advertising on their media properties via an email alert system.

For buyers, the incentive is accessing disparate offline media advertising sources and management campaigns in one place.  

During interviews with hundreds of prospective customers, Amery said he and Walsh not only confirmed the need for a self-serve model of offline media buying, they also identified different media buying types. While there are always going to be those who want a well-planned, agency-led campaigns going in the future, many would also like to leave about 20 per cent of their total campaign budget for value or last-minute advertising opportunities – a sweet spot customer for MediaPinch.

“Then there are those smaller and mid-sized agencies and smaller buyers who want to do all of it online themselves, literally like they’re buying Facebook or Google campaigns today,” Amery said. “They want to develop it all themselves, purchase online and manage the whole campaign online.”

For its part, MediaPinch will be charging suppliers a commission for each piece of inventory bought or referred on.

“MediaPinch is about reducing the cost, administration and time to market for suppliers, which allows us to offer big discounts on media,” Amery continued. “For the first time, media buyers have a transparent buying process and access to a feature-rich platform, making offline media buying and campaign planning accessible and easy.

“It doesn’t matter how many places you want to buy from – it’s all automated and in one cart. You can have 10 different billboards from 10 different suppliers around the country with 10 different print ads and manage it like it’s coming from one supplier.”

The initial focus for MediaPinch is on out-of-home, but Amery planned to add print and press inventory sooner rather than later. Radio and cinema are other areas of focus. As well as advertising inventory, some suppliers, such as NewsModo, also offer content and creative services as a package deal through the marketplace.

There are also ambitions to create APIs to ensure MediaPinch can directly connect to other third-party inventory management systems, further improving access and efficiency and getting closer to that trading desk-style approach, he said. The platform is based on Amazon Web Services, giving it scale for rapid growth.

“We think there’s a huge market for media that is still premium but completely untapped,” Amery added. “Look at how eBay took garage sales online: People had stuff to sell, but didn’t know where to sell it.

“With MediaPinch, we’re opening up that opportunity for people to sell media they can’t sell elsewhere.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

 

 

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