Denise Shrivell

Digital People - Marc Barnett

Welcome again to Digital People where we feature Mi9's Marc Barnett - GM of the Microsoft Media Network & Advertising Exchange. There's no doubt the past 12 months has seen parts of our industry transform to automated trading platforms & Marc highlights various opportunities, challenges & forecasts surrounding this rapidly developing sector. A worthwhile read with a glimpse into our future...

marc BarnettName:  Marc Barnett
Works: Mi9
Job Title: General Manager Microsoft Media Network and Microsoft Advertising Exchange

1. Please highlight your industry experience and how, where and when you came to digital media?

My break into the media industry actually happened at an athletics event when I was just 14 years old. My dad introduced me to Dean Capobianco who was just about to compete in the 200m to qualify for his 2nd Olympic games. That meeting led to Dean and I becoming friends and training together over several years. Dean said it was my determination and perseverance on the track that made a lasting impression on him; when he offered me my first job in media at the age of 22, with no qualifications or experience.

I spent my first few years in digital selling search advertising.  I then moved to ninemsn and set up the Performance Media business, giving me the opportunity to build a team from the ground up and learn many valuable lessons on the way.

Earlier this year I returned from Microsoft Advertising in Singapore to Mi9 in Australia, to lead the launch of Australia’s first premium real time exchange – the Microsoft Advertising Exchange and integrate the Microsoft Media Network into the rapidly evolving Mi9 (the joint-venture between Microsoft and Nine Entertainment Co) business.

2. Outline your role with The Microsoft Media Network/Mi9  - what do you actually do?

The arrival of automated trading is transforming the industry – and my team of programmatic and performance media specialists are leading that charge. Last year I launched Australia’s first premium Advertising Exchange and we are now challenging Google’s view on the future of media.

The Microsoft Media Network  (MMN) is a truly end-to-end display adverting network, combining the reach of Mi9’s owned and operated sites including the ninemsn- branded sites and up to 150 quality partner and third party sites. Spanning beyond just performance MMN can provide opportunities via video, mobile, and targeting capabilities.

3. Can you offer a brief insight into The Microsoft Media Network  – your journey so far, current market position and forward plans?

The incorporation of MMN into the Mi9 joint venture coupled with the launch of the exchange, has given us a unique opportunity to offer advertisers access to our data-driven suite of products at scale, along with the option to buy through our real time-enabled exchange.

Over the past year we have increased our investment in this area and expanded the MMN team to include 25 people across sales, operations and media buying.

We will continue to evolve MMN into the largest, brand-safe, aggregated media network across display, video and mobile inventory in both Australia and New Zealand.

In November last year we launched the Microsoft Advertising Exchange: In the first 11 months of trading, the Exchange is already delivering three times higher yields across the portfolio of sites managed by Mi9. That includes a 40% month-on-month uplift in revenues as agencies and marketers get on board with the concept.

For Mi9 this shift has already begun, through the introduction of Australia’s only premium ad exchange which will ultimately heighten the appeal of digital advertising, providing a cost effective way for advertisers to effectively reach the most valuable customer at the right time.

The launch of the Microsoft Advertising Exchange now allows advertisers new opportunities to utilise their own data and their own audiences across premium inventory.

We are in the process of building a capability across our group of companies to effectively capture and use the wealth of data we have across our assets including Windows Live, Cudo, iSelect, Rate City, Ticketek, Hoyts, Nine rewards and over 80 ninemsn sites. We would then be able to overlay this data offering onto our inventory. We have no plans, as of yet, to on-sell this data for others to use.

4. Please share your views on the current state of the digital media market?

The current situation is a combination of both the tough cyclical environment and significant structural shift.  The advertising market remains short, making it difficult to forecast beyond a few months. A tough economic climate, combined with this structural upheaval hitting the media industry is creating a dramatic change for the whole industry.

The pace of change is so rapid that it is hard for marketers agencies and even staff to keep up and become subject matter experts.
We’re expecting growth to improve in 2013, but if you look at where advertisers are increasing investment, its digital that continues to grow.
Data, targeting, multi-platform and video should be the key areas of growth.
5. Is there any one person, digital business or sector you think we should be keeping an eye on?

It goes without saying that I’m keeping a particularly close eye on programmatic trading, which, as it catches up with the rates currently seen in the US - I truly believe it will have the single biggest impact on our industry. Outside of that, I see the continued evolution of cloud services will remove the fragmentation of existing channels. Consumer devices, whether it’s; TV, mobile, tablet or PC will become less important as audiences become truly connected wherever they are.
6. What do you see as the key challenges and opportunities in the digital media market in the coming 12 months?

The market would love to have more data made available. The challenge is – would they be ready to use it and how would it be valued?


Challenges – Moving quickly enough away from the old way of doing things and not embracing the digital age.

Opportunities – Getting ahead of their competitors through the use of new innovative technology and platforms now available.


Challenges – Getting through the clutter of new publishers and offerings and understanding what’s best for their clients.

Opportunities – Growing their trading desks and improving performance for their advertisers while understanding the role new and traditional platforms and how they interact.


Challenges – Ensuring they adapt quickly enough to the changing landscape and customer expectations.

Opportunities – Investing in technology and resources to bolster their ability to deliver unique experiences for consumers and advertisers.

7. How do you see digital and other media evolving in the next 5+ years?

Two years ago less than 5% of ad inventory was automatically traded in the USA. Today, more than 60% is. There’s no doubting this is a game-changer.

I’d like to see this space drive the overall growth of online advertising. The efficiency of this space will ensure all sides of the equation remain profitable whilst delivering advertisers improved results and measurability.

8. What does the digital/interactive industry need to do better right now?  

The media industry needs to move away from the commoditisation of cheap inventory for the sheer sake of volume. The focus should be on quality inventory, which provides relevant content and deep audience insight. I believe this will enable advertisers to target their audiences more effectively – which will deliver more effective results for advertisers and publishers, through a focus on content and a greater understanding of the online audience

9. Where do you get your industry information from?

I follow a range of sources including; Forrester, IDC, IAB, eMarketer, Deliotte as well as industry news sources like yours truly - Digital Ministry, and the ever-growing list of resources related to the world of digital media optimization collated by sites like AdExchanger.

10. What industry groups or networks are you a part of?

As part of Mi9 I participate in IAB, AIMIA and AANA functions.


See an overview of all 102 previous Digital People profile articles here.

Thanks for your continued support and interest in Digital People.  If you have any comments please feel free to get in touch - or phone: 0424 100325 I welcome your feedback.




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Denise Shrivell MediaScope Denise Shrivell
Company: MediaScope
Position: Director
Founder of MediaScope - Australia's most up-to-date & evolving directory resource connecting agencies & marketers to more than 3,000 niche, alternative & emerging media options Read Denise's full bio

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