- Telefónica and affiliates of GSO Capital Partners, a division of Blackstone (NYSE:BX), create Axonix – a new programmatic advertising company based in London and underpinned by technology acquired from MobClix. This is the first mobile ad exchange platform owned and powered by a telco.
- Axonix will be run independently of Telefónica and be headed up by Simon Birkenhead, who leaves his role as Telefónica’s Director of Global Advertising Sales.
- The new company will initially launch a mobile ad exchange to advertisers and publishers globally, with a specific focus on US, Europe and Latin American markets.
- Over 100 demand partners are already integrated into the Axonix platform.
London, 16 April 2014. Today Telefónica reinforces its leading position in the global mobile advertising market, announcing the creation of Axonix – a new company with the financial backing of Telefónica and affiliates of Blackstone’s GSO Capital Partners (GSO). This is the first mobile advertising exchange platform owned and powered by a mobile operator.
Axonix will be powered by technology acquired by Telefónica and Blackstone’s GSO Capital that underpinned the programmatic advertising platform, MobClix. This technology has a four year history of leading the market and, through the creation of Axonix, propels Telefónica into the fast-growing real-time advertising space (RTB) alongside only a small selection of other major technology companies.
Simon Birkenhead has been appointed Chief Executive of Axonix, leaving his current role as Telefónica’s Director of Global Advertising Sales. The newly formed company will have a completely new executive management team and will operate globally with its headquarters in London. Whilst being independently run, it will benefit from the financial credibility, advertising industry expertise and global reach of its two shareholders, Telefónica and Blackstone’s GSO.
Stephen Shurrock, CEO of Digital Service & Innovation at Telefónica said: “Axonix is created specifically for the mobile advertising industry, using technology with a four year heritage in leading this market to offer a central destination for operator-enriched advertising inventory. We’re proud to be the first telecoms company in the world to own and power a mobile ad exchange platform, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to putting digital services front and centre as we transform into a digital telco.
“Through the acquisition of the MobClix technology, in partnership with Blackstone’s GSO, as well as our unique data sets as a mobile operator, we expect to become one of the leading global technology platforms in the mobile programmatic advertising industry.
“Our immediate priority now is to scale the business quickly by attracting the best talent in the industry, right from the heart of London, and partner with leading brands, agencies, networks and publishers to make highly targeted, relevant and impactful mobile advertising a reality across the globe.”
Axonix is a fully transparent, programmatic marketplace that enables mobile publishers to achieve the highest possible prices for their inventory whilst adhering to any controls and selling rules they define. Axonix will initially offer a self-service, mobile ad exchange platform to advertisers and publishers globally but with a specific focus on US and Europe, plus Latin America where Telefonica has enormous local scale. Over 100 demand partners are already integrated into the Axonix platform.
Recent figures from ZenithOptimedia show that in 2013, $13.4 billion was spent on mobile ads equating to some 13% of all Internet ad spend and 2.7% of all global ad spend. By 2016 it’s estimated that this figure will rise to $45 billion, or 28% of Internet ad spend and 7.6% of total ad investments. Separate research from eMarketer predicts that real-time bidding will account for 54% of all total US display ad spend in 2017, with mobile-based RTB sales, in particular, accounting for approximately 20% of this spend.
The new real-time trading capabilities will complement Telefonica’s existing mobile display, messaging, sponsored services and other advertising business units, further enhancing Telefónica’s already strong advertising proposition that offers brands scaled audiences, innovative data-driven targeting options and impactful ad formats.
The use of Telefonica’s unique audience data, anonymized and aggregated, through a programmatic trading platform will enable Axonix to deliver improved ad relevancy and performance, providing unrivalled value and results for its advertiser and publisher customers.
“At GSO, we recognize the need for an innovative entrant into the mobile advertising exchange market to address the increasingly global and data driven requirements for advertisers and publishers. We are looking forward to partnering with Telefonica on this exciting opportunity.” said Scott Eisenberg, Managing Director from GSO who will join the board of Axonix.