Meet The Team - Index Exchange's CTV ambitions

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 14 June 2023
Adele Wieser.

Index Exchange, the global advertising marketplace, is charting a strong course to unlocking the opportunities that connected TV (CTV) presents for publishers, platforms, marketers and agencies.

While it’s just one channel the independent ad exchange works across – which also includes native, display, video, mobile and more – the importance of and demand for CTV solutions from advertisers has exponentially increased in the past few years.

With a team in APAC focused on empowering broadcasters and streamers alike to realise the true value of TV’s evolution into a digital medium, Index Exchange is utilising nearly 20 years of programmatic experience to replicate the success it saw in the display space in the realm of CTV. 

The importance of programmatic for streaming TV

Adele Wieser, Index Exchange’s regional MD for APAC, said that the video market is “an absolutely fascinating space” to be working in and across at the moment, and that while there’s a lot of change happening, there's also a lot of partners that Index Exchange is working with that are leaning more heavily into evolution and advancements. 

“The Australian streaming TV market itself is worth $3.3 billion, which is incredibly big,” said Wieser.

“It's gone from what was very controlled to being a little bit more open, but I think with all the advancements that are going to come in technology, we'll start to see that really rapidly grow further, and part of that is driven by consumption behaviours. 

“As new services are coming into the market, and alternate offering - ad supported models, FAST channels, things like that - this is going to really amplify the supply.”

Wieser said that when you see that amplification of supply, more demand starts to follow, and more desire to have new tools, new features, greater control, transparency and standardisation are all pillars to further growth. 

With around 70% of ad spend transacted programmatically, which includes the guaranteed lines of trading, Wieser said that Australia is quite programmatically advanced and mature in terms of the spend that it controls in the market, but there are still pieces of technology missing that will help it mature even further.

“I think we could reasonably get to a point in the next five to 10 years where closer to 90% of spend is transacted programmatically, but in order to do that, you need to unlock a number of the key things that buyers and sellers are looking for to bring that control back into the system, so that they can lean in a lot more to it,” said Wieser. 

“What we're missing is that leapfrog in the video space in streaming TV where we went through a lot of the evolution in programmatic display, bringing it from what was considered just a line on an insertion order to become a line of trading for a larger portion of spend. 

“We're going to see that evolution happening in streaming TV as more and more controls, features and benefits are brought into video programmatic.”

Wieser says programmatic is one of those channels that has a great deal of control and accountability, and as a result, it's very measurable, which provides clarity around that attribution model for advertisers. 

“When they're looking at how they can correctly address the right audience in the right environments with the right content - all of the targeting and reporting and transparency that comes into the channel is what builds a lot of success for the clients,” said Wieser.

Wieser said that it will continue to grow and become even less of a line of trading and more of just a standard way of buying.

“If we look at the lens of streaming TV, branding budgets do live a lot more in programmatic than I think they did in display,” she said.

“When you think about the ambitions for a branding campaign versus those for a traditional performance or reach play, it's a bit different. It's an interesting one, because you do hear that narrative that linear is declining, and linear spend is going to digital, but it's really just following the user's consumption behaviours.

“It's just about how the campaign and the budget is structured to achieve the ultimate results when you're blending it across the two. And then when you add in display and native and other elements, it becomes a lot more comprehensive too.”

Shifting budgets and a “lively” market 

Colin Lam, Index Exchange’s strategic partner development director for APACsaid that the crux of answering the question of what’s behind the shifting linear TV budgets for media owners – and more importantly, where that budget is being shifted to - boils down to where and how audiences consume. 


“As a consumer, we now have the choice to watch what we want, where we want and when we want, via these on-demand platforms, so naturally, we'll see these dollars starting to move in the direction that the consumers are moving,” said Lam.

Lam said that we're a highly digitally-connected society and with this comes a certain level of expectation around the type of content we ingest and the ad experience that surrounds it. 

“From an owner’s perspective, trying to boost numbers in what is becoming an increasingly crowded ecosystem is definitely a challenge,” Lam said.

“We've all also been operating in a very uncertain macro-economic climate for some time now, which definitely puts strain on budgeting, forecasting and expenditure. Advertisers are obviously rethinking how they spend and how they're being pressed to do more with less, but we're encouraged to see that ad spend is starting to increase for 2023 and video definitely has a lot to do with that.

“The market’s definitely more lively than what it was six months ago. We can definitely see that reflected in terms of the conversations that we're having on the supply side and on the buy side too. I think that's the biggest thing to get excited about - with that conversation comes increased opportunity.”

Lam said that for the CTV space to really take off as an industry, it needs to develop an ecosystem that allows media owners and buyers to transact efficiently, safely, but also at scale. 

“Standardisation and transparency are also key, given historically, various players have been operating on different protocols, surfacing inconsistencies in transparency and signalling,” said Lam. 

“I think the IAB OpenRTB 2.6 aims to correct this and gives that standardisation around a range of new capabilities that will pave the road for CTV. In order to move forward, it's essential that we as an industry adopt this specification, so that we're all on the same page.”

How buyers can utilise supply path optimisation

Janette Higginson, Index Exchange’s VP of buyer development for APAC, said that it’s a “really exciting time” for the company as the consolidation in the supply-side platform (SSP) space has finally arrived, encouraging buyers to ask questions of the exchanges they work with and go deeper into their tech partners’ capabilities.janette.png

“They're seeing things that they've never seen before and they're asking a lot of questions and I think that that's really healthy, and an incredible opportunity for us to innovate in that space, build together and build in response to the questions they're asking,” said Higginson.

A lot of Higginson’s current focus is on supply path optimisation (SPO), reducing the supply partners and intermediaries to make sure that it's the most efficient path to inventory and supplies. Despite the increased interest around SPO, Higginson said that it’s not a new concept and one that Index Exchange has already been doing. 

Higginson says that she thinks SPO is not something that ‘is’, but rather something that you do, and that by acting on SPO every day, you're benefitting a buyer touching three key pillars on a daily basis. 

“The first key pillar is commercial efficiencies; really making sure that the value is being attributed within the ecosystem supply chain and that people are making the most of every dollar that's invested from an investment standpoint,” said Higginson.

“Then you've got an operational lens, which is where the buyers can work closely with supply actors to build architectures, to look at deal types, to look at trading lines, and to ensure that they can buy consciously and with intention in a way that's easy to do. 

“With the performance side, I think it’s important to note that in SPO, people don't set up an SPO strategy and just leave it. You have to optimise and re optimise and to drive performance through an SPO strategy, you need to review it and you need to keep it alive.”

Looking at the technical blocks that Index has seen arise in the past five years around CTV strategies, Higginson said that the best part of the worst part of CTV is that the challenges are shared across the buy and sell side.

“That presents an opportunity to educate, to communicate and to work really collaboratively with the likes of the IAB Tech Labs, which we're doing around transparency and signals,” said Higginson.

“The biggest challenges that people ask me about on a daily basis is around user experience, back to backs, choice, but we’re actively working to remedy those pain points, which will serve really beautifully, not only for our publisher partners, but also the buyers who are feeling the same pain points.”

Renee Fittock, Senior Partner Development Director, APAC 

What do you love about your role? 

Each day comes with fun new challenges and learnings making each one unique and interesting.  My role is a wonderful mix of getting into the depths of programmatic technology, delving into lots of data, building successful partnerships with our customers, and collaborating with great people.  It is truly rewarding getting to work with inspired teammates across the globe, who are passionate about and driven by doing great things for our media partners.  I am lucky to be part of a business with a culture that has been built on respect and transparency, delivering success for our customers and our individual self-development.  


What attracted you to Index Exchange?

When I was exploring new opportunities, I was very much aware of how well Index had quickly established itself in the Australian market, driven by an inspiring leadership team, both locally and globally.  I was very strongly aligned with Index’s values, pioneering spirit, and business focus. The evolution and agility of the Index business over the last 20 years are incredibly impressive, and I wanted to be part of the Index journey as it continued to expand into new channels and regions.

What is your focus for 2023?

We constantly strive to deepen the partnerships that we have with our customers, through collaboration and shared business goals.  We want to support our customers across all of their programmatic endeavours, ensuring their success by being a thoughtful technology partner.  We have made incredible strides in our omnichannel journey, building products that support our customers across all channels.  Our focus this year revolves around enabling our customers to best activate video opportunities across all devices as well as working closely with them to understand and deliver what is pivotal to their success in this constantly evolving space.    


Amelia Ward, Senior Buyer Development Director, ANZ 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

A typical day for me is highlighted in the most basic ratios: 20% is spent learning about our new product development and capabilities and understanding how that fits into the market, 35% is spent meeting with customers to discuss the best solutions to suit their briefs/needs. 30% is spent on internal meetings to share knowledge and determine the best course of action.The final 15% is spent doing admin (hands up if your Fridays are now spent on Salesforce and not at lunch?)


What is your biggest challenge? 

At the moment, my biggest challenge is helping our customers simplify a complex ecosystem. Providing a level of consultancy that enables growth across my customer’s business, their client needs, and across the market. I want to ensure they understand how to leverage transparency signals, data, and efficiency to drive success against their supply path optimisation (SPO) goals. I love working with buyers and brands in designing their SPO strategies, and supporting buyers with their path – honestly, I get a buzz, working through the mission together from the start of their journeys.

What is your focus for 2023?

2023 for me has both a micro focus – ensuring our customer's needs are met - and at the same time a macro focus on growing the whole market with a spotlight on signal transparency (OpenRTB2.6). It’s crucial that buyers feel more empowered to explore video buying choices, and the only way we can make them feel more informed is to be more transparent in the way video is being transacted. Education around this is my key focus this year.


Brad Graham, Director, Buyer Services, APAC 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

It's generally a mix of internal meetings with the local team and my colleagues overseas while creating time to spend with customers as well. The best part of my day is time spent with customers trying to better understand the role they play in their business and ensuring the service we provide from an account management level aligns with this - plus it lets me ask lots of questions about how we can help them, which I enjoy doing. 


What attracted you to Index Exchange?

First, I was attracted to Index Exchange’s strong product offering and founding story. Along with that, our value proposition for why buyers work with us is incredibly compelling to me. As a publisher-facing business, helping media owners maximise the value of their assets and strengthen their relationships, we offer buyers the opportunity to unlock access to the inventory they'd already be trying to buy. In doing this, our customers on the buy side don't have to pay us a thing to help them; there's an incredible upside to that dynamic and the relationships we're able to create as a result are really strong.

What is your biggest challenge? 

Finding the time to do everything you wish you were able to. There's so much value we can deliver to our buy-side customers by helping them better understand the benefits of getting closer to supply and unlocking new opportunities or trading approaches when doing so. With the huge number of brands and formats out there, prioritising the conversations around what will make the most impact for the buyer is challenging, but also comes with a huge amount of opportunity. 


Victor Michalet, Director, Solutions Consulting APAC 

What does a typical day look like for you? 

As Director of the APAC Solutions Consulting team, I am incredibly fortunate to collaborate with some of the most talented individuals in the industry. I find great fulfillment in providing guidance, support, and mentorship to my team, developing their growth and success. Most days will begin with checking in with my team, discussing ongoing projects, and addressing any challenges that may arise. This helps us align with company priorities but also prepares us well to tackle our responsibilities effectively.

I also collaborate very closely with our Partner Development team, ensuring we understand our partners’ business challenges and objectives to facilitate swift, effective, and accurate technical integrations.

What attracted you to Index Exchange?

I was initially drawn to Index Exchange's reputation as a market leader and its commitment to innovation and transparency. Coming from a technical background with experience in buy-side platforms, I was particularly attracted by the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of publisher-focused technology and become an expert in the full programmatic journey.


Index Exchange offered me the ideal environment to expand my knowledge and unravel the complexities of the supply side of the industry. Having recently celebrated my 5-year anniversary at Index Exchange, I can confidently say that it has been the best decision I've made, the culture is amazing, and everyone is willing to help each other, making it a great place to work. Leading our Technical Solutions Consultant team for APAC has allowed me to witness firsthand the rapid growth and unique dynamics of this market.

What is your focus for 2023?

In 2023, I am excited about the collaboration between our Product and Service teams, as we work together to implement innovative solutions tailored to our market, especially in the video space. My primary focus is to empower my team to deliver exceptional service and tailored solutions to our clients and internal teams. Being on this side of the world does come with its challenges when working for a global company, it is key that we deeply understand our product solutions in a rapidly evolving market. These challenges are what really get me pumped up and excited to kick start each day!

Personally, I'm also fully dedicated to my role as a father of my 3-year-old daughter. Finding the right balance between my personal and professional goals is crucial for leading a well-rounded and fulfilling life.

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