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Amagi aims to be de facto media buying platform for SMEs

MUMBAI: Media technology company Amagi Media Labs plans to make its recently launched media planning and buying platform Amagi Mix a one-stop source for small and medium enterprises (SME) to fulfil their advertising needs.

Amagi Mix, an e-commerce platform that allows SMEs to buy ad spots on TV channels, will expand its media option to online video, print and radio going forward. The platform is an extension of Amagi’s geo-targeting platform that allows advertisers to target audiences in specific regions through TV.

The idea behind Amagi Mix is that SME clients on Amagi’s geo-targeting platform want other media options as well so that they have access to all forms of media under one roof.

Baskar Subramanian“In geo-targeting, we buy inventory, split it and sell it to different advertisers. But the SMEs want access to other media options as well. SMEs wanted us to be their one-stop shop, which is the genesis of this platform,” Amagi co-founder Baskar Subramanian said.

He further added, “We will expand this platform to multiple media options and not just TV. TV is just the first step because we thought a lot of people wanted TV.”

TV is the immediate focus for Amagi. The company will keep adding new channels to make the bouquet richer. Once that is complete, the company will focus on online video platforms. It will wait for the two platforms to stabilise before adding print and radio options.

“Our immediate focus is TV and we will build on that. In next three months we will expand the TV option. After that, we will add online video advertising to the mix because all the TV content is going online. After that, we will evaluate print and radio depending on the progress we have made,” he added.

The fundamental challenge that SMEs face is that they don’t have all the available media options and they don’t have good quality agency that provides them with best plans. Large agencies don’t work for them because of the small budgets that they have.

Since going live 3–4 weeks back, the platform has attracted 5,550 potential advertisers to the platform. The traffic is largely coming from Maharashtra and Delhi; however, these are early days.

“We see big potential in Maharashtra and Delhi. We also expect a lot of SMEs from UP, Bihar and Punjab to sign up. South will automatically come to this platform because it is already progressive,” Subramanian noted.

The company has signed up with ZEEL, Zee Media, Sun TV Network, Times Network, TV Vision, B4U Television Network, Viacom18, TV18, iTV Network and 9X Media. “We have 70 channels from various networks. We continue to expand the bouquet, but we feel that the existing is bouquet is good enough for clients,” he stated.

According to Subramanian, the cost of advertising on national channels comes down by almost 70% when one geo-targets.

The broadcasters have assigned the inventory for Amagi Mix platform at a pre-determined rate. “This is more like a marketplace model. They dedicate a part of inventory to this platform. It has just started so we are still weighing how much inventory we need,” Subramanian informed.

Amagi is only adding channels that are measured by BARC. “We want channels that are measurable so the cable channels that are being measured can sell their inventory through our platform. We are taking BARC-measured channels because we want to take unbiased decisions,” he stated.

SME advertisers who log on to the platform have to submit their media plan. Once the media plan is submitted, the platform will throw up an automated result that will suggest channels on which the client should advertise to achieve their campaign objective. Users have the discretion to change the automated plan by adding or removing channels on which the client wants to buy spots.

amagiAfter selecting the channels, the client has to select a schedule for airing ads. Payments can be made through credit/debit card or internet banking. Users can opt to pay a partial booking amount online and pay the remaining amount via cheque/bank transfer.

“We are like a national media agency for smaller businesses. Our system is based on historical information about all the brands in the country. It recommends what is best for them in a transparent fashion and helps them to buy at one go. It is exactly like e-commerce for media buying,” Subramanian explained.

Amagi also has an in-house creative team that will provide creative service to SMEs who don’t have an ad agency. Flash and animation creative can be created for as low as Rs 20,000 while live shoots entail a higher cost.

The new platform is a win-win situation for broadcasters and SMEs. Broadcasters gain new advertisers who they wouldn’t have reached otherwise, while SMEs will get access to TV inventory and quality media planning. “We are expanding the advertiser universe for TV channels,” he averred.

Amagi is in talks to raise Series D round of funding. While Subramanian refused to divulge numbers, media reports indicate that the company is looking to raise $25 million in the new round. The company has raised the same amount so far in three rounds of funding.

“We have not yet completed Series D funding. It is expected to close in another 60 days. We are pretty much close to completion for the funding round,” he said.

While Amagi is adequately capitalised for the next 2–3 years, it needs fresh funds for international expansion, Amagi Mix and forthcoming online video.

“We want to be a dominant media and technology company. Next three years are really critical for us. We will focus on online selling of advertising, online video and international expansion,” Subramanian stated.

Amagi, which has offices in New York, Tokyo, London and Hong Kong, is eyeing the Indonesia market. Almost 80% of Amagi’s revenue comes from domestic India business, and international business contributes the rest.