As competition for digital ad dollars heats up with the emergence of programming and television services such as Netflix and Google, media companies are forging alliances to generate revenue through private network ad exchanges.

In Canada, media giants Shaw Communications, Rogers Communications, Corus Entertainment and the CBC have forged a partnership to offer agencies and clients inventory across hundreds of websites via the Canadian Premium Audience Exchange (CPAX), a real-time platform powered by tech firm AppNexus that launched in May.

“Fundamentally, we thought that to do this well in Canada, you really have to have the scale of multiple big media companies coming together to bring this to life,” said Paul Burns, VP of digital media at Shaw Communications, which operates broadcaster Global Television and 18 specialty channels such as Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada.

Private exchanges are a way for broadcasters to offer clients that don’t require bespoke brand integration sold through a direct sales channel but want to do a cost-per-click campaign on premium websites. It becomes a more efficient way for an advertiser to achieve scale in a brand-safe environment.

Although American media companies such as NBC Universal run private exchanges, the real-time bidding market remains dominated by third-party exchanges.

“Generally, you’re seeing real-time bidding in exchanges taking place in the US in a predominant way, but it’s not led by big media,” Burns said. “It’s not led by big broadcasters. It’s usually led by a third-party ad exchange or ad network, so we saw that as an opportunity to jump in and take the reins a bit in Canada.”


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