BREAKING NEWS: French Premium Publisher Exchange 'La Place Media' Announced Today, Q&A with Fabien Magalon, MD

Fabien Magalon is Managing Director for the new premium publisher exchange group 'La Place Media', announced today. Here he gives his insights as to what this means for French publishers and advertisers looking forward.

Why has this group of premium publishers decided to build out a publisher controlled premium exchange?

First, let me introduce La Place Media. We are premium publisher exchange comprised of truly premium sites, and well known and respected brands, both online and offline. We combine the Mediametrie Net Ratings category leaders for Sport, News, Women and many more verticals. At launch, we reach 28 million unique users and deliver more than four billion monthly impressions across more than 80 sites from 12 major sales houses.

Regarding our decision to cooperate rather than act individually: most, if not all, of our publisher partners and customers have been exploring the exchange and RTB opportunities through multiple vendors in the past 24 months. After trialing the various vendors in the market, we selected the Rubicon Project’s REVV Platform as the underlying technology to power the Premium exchange. All have been excited by the opportunity and value that automated trading and data-driven advertising can bring to their individual businesses. Naturally, their desire was to embrace the change further and make more out of this gigantic opportunity.

During their learning phase, our publisher partners quickly figured out that success in this market necessitated a strong alliance. Namely, through collective scale, reach and data.

By combining their strengths into one entity, La Place Media opens a range of new opportunities that publishers were unable to achieve individually. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Is this an independent entity owned by all publishers? Why can’t UK publishers do something similar?

This is an independent entity indeed owned by Lagardere Publicité, TF1 Publicité, Amaury Medias and Figaro Medias. Today we are very proud to announce that we are joined in our project by further fantastic brands: 20minutes, aufeminin.com, Boursorama, La Dépêche, Doctissimo, Marie-Claire, Sud Ouest, France Télévision.

The consortium is open to further publishers matching the same standards. There is no reason, other than political hurdles, that the UK publishers couldn’t build something similar

What kind of benefits will French publishers see from this type of strategy?

There are multiple key benefits:

The first is to obtain scale in order to rise above other publishers in this environment where inventory is trivialised due to the huge discrepancy between volumes of supply and demand. There is so much inventory available within the largest exchanges that individual publishers can’t exist in the long run next to others publishers, no matter what their perceived quality is.

By combining truly premium publishers around one unique, visible proposition, La Place Media offers its publisher partners the ability to conquer a larger share of market than they would have by promoting their inventory individually. Scale drives demand.

Secondly, by sharing our data assets, we can leverage audience segments across many different niche, highly valuable, audience segments.

Thirdly, La Place Media provides an expert team and first class service to our publisher customers matching the unique needs of premium publishers: Quality advertisers and control of cannibalisation is at the centre of our value proposition.

What is the core value proposition to buyers? How is the buy side reacting to this move?

So far the buy side has been excited about La Place Media. You have to remember that the French market doesn’t have that many publishers with truly premium inventory (premium context, premium content and premium formats) embracing the automated trading space. La Place Media brings this to the market with a huge volume of quality inventory and reach. The buy side is excited about our scale, our quality, our guaranteed brand-safeness and our diversity.

We are very focused on the buyer’s and advertiser’s benefits, and are constantly meeting with the largest spenders to understand their needs and adapt our offering to keep growing their spend and increase their efficiency.

What is the upside of this move for the buy side, versus them executing individual private marketplaces for instance?

The buy side will more efficiently be able to execute multiple private marketplace deals with publishers from La Place Media thanks to the centralisation of our offering. One central point of buying is much more efficient.

From a logistical perspective, how will you manage domain exposure and multiple floor pricing?

Domain exposure is what we call semi-transparent. We take a strong view that anonymisation of URLs is the only way to protect from channel conflict and direct sales cannibalisation. We have the responsibility to protect value of our direct sales by limiting the ability for demand partners to use La Place Media to circumnavigate the direct sales team of our publishers.

Concretely it means that, at launch, inventory will be made available under the name ‘La Place Media’ to buyers. We will provide granularity to our demand partners through multiple masked URL’s. Our proposition can evolve in the future based on buyers’ feedback, and we are already thinking about the v2 of our offering – which will include further granularity to our demand partners to comfortably access our inventory and improve their performance; which in turn will drive efficiency for their advertisers, at scale, in a premium and brand-safe environment.

Regarding floor prices, we are applying a unique floor price policy across all of our publisher properties. Floor prices will vary per sizes, types of content and position, but the name/brand of the site won’t affect the floor.

Is this a move that reflects the growing share that has begun being carved out by Google Adx and Facebook?

La Place Media is indeed a proactive initiative to capture a larger share of spend from the data driven advertising market – currently dominated by Google ADX, and in the future, FBX.

La Place Media offers a solid alternative to their scale in the French market, and a very strong differentiator, thanks to our brands. We are convinced that our unique offering (premium inventory at scale) will drive premium demand at scale: quality demand follows quality supply.

Could this effectively create an environment of building the ultimate premium publisher trading desk model?

Not sure about the term ‘ultimate’, however we are very excited by the myriad future opportunities and products that our publisher partners will be able to build from La Place Media. From the start, each publisher will have the opportunity to offer audience extension campaigns at scale within La Place’s inventory, one of the foundational components of a publisher trading desk. Further opportunities will be possible in the future – especially around data and local/self-service.

By sharing our audience data, we are building a strong audience segmentation of our inventory to the market. We are also exploring the local market opportunity that some of our publisher partners can help us approach.