Latin American publisher-owned multiplatform media company Medula has been managing Microsoft’s commercial representations in LatAm for almost a year now. That is why Portada, the leading Source on Latin Marketing and media, spoke to Kenneth Andrew, General Manager, Advertising & Online Emerging Markets at Microsoft, and Alejandro Mondrzak, Corporate SVP & CEO of the Digital Business Unit at Grupo Clarin (a Medula shareholder), to discuss why this kind of collaboration is so important in today’s global economy.
Medula Positions Itself as Rep for Premium Global Publishers
Medula offers media buying, content, programmatic, mobile and video services, with a special focus on the premium audiences and content that make Latin America unique. Javier Chanfreau was appointed CEO of Medula in July 2015, and among other deals, he immediately secured a partnership with Microsoft to manage its ad sales in the region. Medula’s properties include Grupo Clarin from Argentina, Grupo Copesa from Chile, Grupo Opsa from Honduras, and PAL (Periodicos Asociados de Latinoamérica).
Gaining Microsoft as a client helped secure the company’s place as a top representative company for premium worldwide publishers.
As Latin America has become increasingly attractive to dynamic businesses looking to expand their global reach, Medula’s goal is to become their go-to media partner in the region, leveraging its local expertise and longstanding relationships with local commercial ventures. Microsoft has its own impressive set of properties and brands (Skype, Bing, MSN and Xbox, to name a few), and is ambitiously pursuing opportunities to reach global audiences as it develops its business model.
Microsoft Turns to Medula for Support in New Ad-Driven Revenue Model
One would be hard-pressed to think of a more global or dynamic company than Microsoft. The company has recently switched from a business model focused on selling its products and operating system, Windows, to offering those products for free, working with a revenue model based on advertising to subsidize its users’ free experiences.
“Microsoft Advertising has free consumer assets that millions of people use every day, but the principal revenue stream is through advertising. We are constantly evolving how we provide those to agencies and brands, and have a longstanding relationship with Medula in Latin America,” says Kenneth Andrew, General Manager, Advertising & Online Emerging Markets at Microsoft.
Microsoft has been partnering with AppNexus to run its programmatic operations for a year now, and getting Medula in on the action meant that Medula and AppNexus could form a symbiotic relationship, the former making use of its tight relationships with agency trading desks, buying from an audience perspective, and the latter working with big advertisers on sponsorships and branding opportunities in the region to reach mass audiences.
Microsoft is happy to leave this hard work in such capable hands, freeing up its own resources for other aspects of its business in the region that do not require such local expertise.
Medula Eyeing U.S. Hispanic Market
On top of its impressive performance in Latin America, Medula has also a strong focus on the US-Hispanic market, and Alejandro Mondrzak, Corporate SVP & CEO of the Digital Business Unit at Grupo Clarin says that Microsoft is giving the company the scale that it needs to succeed in this venture.
Mondrzak asserts that Medula knows how different Latin American and US Hispanic markets are, and that there are practically two companies, one dedicated to each market. “The US-Hispanic market is truly a huge opportunity, and as much as it is different from Latin America, we have unique abilities and capabilities and a regional reach that we can adapt to the US market,” he says. “It’s a learning process with a curve, but we are doing our best to understand it.”
Microsoft Properties Offer High Visibility, Flexibility
In terms of specific properties, “MSN is seeing a strong level of engagement with the content experience, and Skype is hugely relevant in the communications space. We want to make more native advertising opportunities there to immerse people in advertising while they are reading content,” Andrew says. Bing is also a key property, as search has become “so ubiquitous throughout the user experience, evolving from allowing you to find information to enabling you to take action and gain knowledge at the same time,” says Andrews. Search is also very profitable, and serves as a platform through which many applications can be integrated.
Companies like Microsoft are ultimately looking for “the best in breed, with local insight and knowledge and excellent sales people,” Andrews explains. “Medula shows and demonstrate the values that are important to Microsoft. We invest in these partnerships and hold them to high quality. Medula is adapting and learning to reinvent their business as programmatic grows as a way of buying, because we need to capture the traditional reserve demand as well as programmatic.”