Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Mediacorp are working together on a digital advertising initiative to offer brands access to a large pool of consumers and to address the problem of ads showing up on dubious websites.
The tie-up offers programmatic advertising, which relies on computer programs to target specified audience segments and serve ads on multiple websites instantly.
The move comes in the wake of recent incidents when online ads for some of Singapore's biggest brands popped up unwittingly on incendiary sites.
The venture, dubbed Singapore Media Exchange (SMX), will see the two media groups putting their inventory of websites into a common pool so that advertisers have a wider network for their campaigns, instead of needing to buy directly into any particular platform.
At the signing of a memorandum of understanding yesterday, SPH's digital division executive vice-president Julian Tan said: "This partnership brings together the two leading media organisations in Singapore which are committed to innovate and offer true value to advertisers facing unprecedented challenges in this digital age."
Mediacorp's chief commercial and digital officer Parminder Singh said: "Trust is paramount for brands. All our media buyers want greater choice, brand safety and scale."
Such tie-ups are not new. In Europe, the Pangaea alliance pools the digital platforms of publications like CNN, Financial Times, The Guardian and Reuters.
In Singapore, SMX will commit at least two billion display and video views annually across a selection of SPH and Mediacorp platforms, including the websites and mobile apps of The Straits Times, The Business Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Channel NewsAsia and Today.
To be launched fully next year, SMX will be managed by an independent team. The two companies will have equal representation on its board, and other premium publishers may be invited to add their online properties in the future.
Advertisers welcomed the partnership. Ms Esther Low, Samsung Electronics Singapore's head of corporate marketing, said: "Having a single view of the digital options from SPH and Mediacorp empowers us to buy into digital media more effectively and efficiently."
According to research firm ComScore, the two media companies reach over seven in 10 digital consumers in Singapore every month.
Ms Miranda Dimopoulos, chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Singapore, and Mr Howie Lau, StarHub chief marketing officer, said the move is timely to capture growing digital budgets. They also welcomed SMX's assurance that advertising campaigns will run alongside content by trusted publishers.
Google and Facebook are the biggest providers of programmatic advertising via their ad booking and management systems, which let advertisers select their target audience by interests or demographic.
This can have pitfalls. Ads for local retail chains, banks, airlines and telcos have appeared on controversial sites, including one that has content from preachers linked to terrorism.