The programmatic advertising market is ballooning and it shows little sign of slowing down over the next few years. And while this has disrupted the status quo, it also offers enormous potential of expediting the process of selling and buying ads while simultaneously allowing for specific audiences to be targeted with pinpoint accuracy. And rather than letting this opportunity pass New Zealand by, the nation’s four major publishers have allied their efforts to create a programmatic solution with a distinctly local flavour: KPEX.

This play allows the local publishers to aggregate their audiences and create scale (letting buyers use the new tools that they favour) but doing so only across quality, local content.


When the Australian media companies attempted to come together to form a similar alliance across the ditch, the effort failed because various players were simply unwilling to collaborate. But the local players did not allow the same to happen. Setting aside their partisan differences and prioritising the importance of creating a strong local programmatic network, Fairfax Media, MediaWorks, NZME and TVNZ successfully came together to form KPEX. Here’s why the execs determined the move was worthwhile.



It was an easy decision to form a premium alliance with New Zealand media players. The current situation has international competitors taking New Zealand advertising dollars overseas. The two main players create no content themselves, but they do provide a convenient way to buy the Kiwi eyeballs on their platforms. Buying premium eyeballs on New Zealand sites was not as easy, so a comparable proposition was needed for us to compete. KPEX is that solution. For the market, I hope KPEX raises the awareness of New Zealand content generators and the role they play in reaching and influencing local customers. I hope that local marketers who want us as consumers to buy their products here and not from overseas suppliers also apply the same mantra to their advertising choices.


markMediaWorks joined the KPEX conversation with other broadcasters for a number of reasons. Primarily, it was the importance of the market platform to customer outcomes and our view that, for our advertiser customers, having a focused local platform would add more value than being a small part of a global platform. MediaWorks also strongly believes that having a pool of inventory that is guaranteed to be of the highest quality would be of more value to our customers, than essentially forcing them to participate in the global inventory pool. Our competition in this space is international – as much as it is each other – so working together where we can makes perfect sense. For all these reasons – and a preference to shape markets, rather than take markets – the KPEX idea was one we have been 100 percent behind since the get-go.


jeremyThe reality is all local publishers are facing increased global competition in our home markets and although we each have strong, unique local product our individual reach means that there is benefit in pooling our audiences to provide an easier trading interface for clients to access them. We understand that being local is not enough of a reason to choose KPEX. Key to our success is our unparalleled investment in local content. We understand the New Zealand market better than the global players and we create local content to meet the local market needs. Our businesses are built on understanding New Zealand and New Zealanders and the content that is most relevant and compelling to them. There are a number of global co-operatives that are succeeding using a similar approach. La Place in France and Pangea in the UK are two that spring to mind. Both are aggregating the power of local publishers to provide a high reach, highly engaged environment for advertisers to reach audiences. The response I have had from the market is overwhelmingly positive. Competition and innovation is seen as a positive for the industry. KPEX is simple to use – a client just needs to set up a buy through an agency demand side platform, or if they do not have an agency, the KPEX team can facilitate a buy directly for them. We expect the platform to evolve over time to offer new options for targeting and a greater range of formats for advertisers to utilise such as video. Over time, as we introduce more sophisticated data products, we envisage the ability to serve even more relevant and targeted advertising to audiences which, along with compelling creative, will provide significantly improved ROI for advertisers. I think advertisers are becoming more concerned about issues such as viewability, bots, and environment and a local co-operative of well known, trusted and credible publishers provides a brand safe environment that a broader all in aggregator cannot. Ultimately it will be our ROI against the business objectives set for campaigns that will define our success. We believe we have a relevant and engaging environment that will provide a more effective result for advertisers within KPEX. In short KPEX will win by providing advertisers relevance, engagement, trust and credibility.


simonOur decision to work together is about providing advertisers with a strong local offering. KPEX opens up a range of new opportunities for advertisers that we were unable to achieve independently, and a viable, local, programmatic ad exchange alternative to what is offered by large, international players. And this is good for the long-term health of the local market. Through collective scale, reach and data, there’s the potential to build a product that allows local advertisers to access premium inventory and target audiences programmatically. It also offers unsurpassed access to New Zealand’s local news, lifestyle and entertainment destinations and will help customers solve measurement and other issues with digital advertising in a massive global pool. KPEX is about thinking strategically to stay ahead of the game. Small and agile, KPEX is focused on making quick decisions and getting the job done well. By combining our strengths into one entity, KPEX opens a range of new opportunities that publishers were unable to achieve individually. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Only a short few months after KPEX inventory became available, many major media strategists plugged in and started bidding. Here’s what a few think of the offering so far.


natalieOgilvy is fully supportive of KPEX and we hope to see them perform well and become a major entity in the coming months and years. The most important thing is results against our client KPIs and the amount of money that we invest in KPEX will always be based on performance. It is fantastic that we can buy digital inventory off the four premium New Zealand sites programmatically. We also have the ability to overlay data from multiple sources to make these buys work harder than if we were simply buying the four sites individually. Additionally as our optimisation (both at our end and KPEX) is across the network our results should be very strong and we expect to see it compare favourable to the myriad other performance-based offerings we have at our disposal.


nickHaving a market place that gives brands access to great Kiwi content that is under URLs makes for highly relevant target audiences. New Zealand brands want to engage with local audiences so having access to some of the biggest publishers in New Zealand and their content in one market place is of great relevance.


arnaudKpex has been great, with results exceeding our expectations, even though we’re not able to target the inventory we buy on a publisher-perpublisher basis. At present, we have a total of 41 packages or targeting options available, utilising both display and video. CTRs and viewability rates for our campaigns have been above what we have seen via other premium exchanges.