Ross was quick to note that Fairfax does have its own original video assets, with both short- and long-form content that it distributes through its newspaper, magazine and other media sites. It also syndicates video from third parties. But the expanded relationship with Google is separate from Fairfax's focus as a publisher. This is strictly a demand-side proposition, not a sell-side one.
"The Fairfax video products are 100 percent sold by our sales team on a premium CPM-basis," Ross said. "The audience extension we’re doing through AdEx with YouTube is also sold through our sales team. We’re becoming a buyer of inventory where we can overlay our data assets and then sell that to buyers and planners."
While that's a pretty progressive move, Fairfax doesn't feel any rush to establish a substantial RTB marketplace in the APAC region. As such, it will not be making inventory available on an RTB basis right now through trading desks, though Ross said it's something the company thinks of.
"There is no doubt that RTB is a growing medium in Australia with significant increases in trading activity through DSPs over the past 12 months," he said. "Buyers and sellers are still getting around the best ways to operate on a pure display level. RTB is something we certainly have our eye on. We’re a pretty open-minded publisher. As it stands, the most sensible strategy for us as a major publisher right now is to couple our data with our inventory, or off-network inventory, and sell that as a package to the agency community."
Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia in Sydney was the first to trial Fairfax’s audience extension product. The agency ran a test of the video ad inventory with Fairfax and Google's AdX for its client DrinkWise, a non-profit group involved in raising awareness of alcoholism.
“We saw an immediate uplift in performance," said Emily McConnell, ZenithOptimedia digital account director, in a statement. "Compared to standard contextual placements, the product delivered a 75 per cent increase in click through rates for Drinkwise.”