Spanish telco Telefónica looks to mobile ad space with new mobile exchange

Spanish telco Telefónica is launching a mobile advertising exchange, using the technology of bankrupt ad exchange MobClix, Telefónica today announced.

Telefónica is partnering with Blackstone to create a new programmatic ad company, Axonix, which will be the first mobile ad exchange platform owned and powered by a telco.

More than 100 partners already are integrated into the new platform, which will be run independently of Telefónica.

Telefónica said Axonix initially will deploy a mobile ad exchange to allow advertisers and publishers to buy and sell mobile advertising space globally, with a specific focus on US, Europe and Latin American markets.

“Axonix is created specifically for the mobile advertising industry,” said Stephen Shurrock, CEO of digital service and innovation at Telefónica. “We’re proud to be the first telecoms company in the world to own and power a mobile ad exchange platform” saying the move puts “digital services front and center as we transform into a digital telco.”

Telefónica, he said, will “become one of the leading global technology platforms in the mobile programmatic advertising industry.” 

Shurrock said the telco would move to quickly scale the business quickly.

The move puts Telefónica directly into competition with stalwarts Google and Facebook.

More than $13.4 billion was spent on mobile ads in 2013, ZenithOptimedia reported. That’s about 13% of all Internet ad spending and nearly 3% of all global ad spend.

That’s forecast to rise to $45 billion by 2016, more than a quarter of Internet ad spend (28%).

eMarketer, meanwhile, predicts 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.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn