Apple is teaming up with Tokyo-based advertising group Dentsu to bring its iAd mobile advertising network to the Japanese market in early 2011, the companies have announced.
The relationship will see Apple outsource iAd-related sales and creative functions to Dentsu’s digital arm, Cyber Communications Inc (CCI), while it provides the back end technology to host, target and deliver ads to its devices there. Application developers will retain 60 percent of the revenue generated from the sale of inventory in their software, with Apple and Dentsu divvying up the remainder.
Commenting on the launch in a press release, Apple VP of iAd Andy Miller described Dentsu as “an ideal partner for iAds in Japan,” and Dentsu’s senior EVP Ryuichi Mori said he expects the product to gain traction in the Japanese market.
The fact that Apple has chosen a partnership to bring the iAd product to Japan is an interesting development, given its choice to operate internal sales teams for the U.S. network following its acquisition of Quattro Wireless in January. Historically Apple has sought to retain close control of all aspects of its products, rarely choosing partnerships over building out its own resources or platforms.
One advantage of working with an agency group such as Dentsu is the creative capabilities it brings to the table. Apple has faced criticism in the U.S. for insisting on handling the creative process for all iAds, frustrating agencies and advertisers and reportedly leading some brands to cancel their campaigns completely.
Worth noting, though, is the fact that neither Apple nor Dentsu have given details on the nature or length of the agreement, suggesting the former could use the relationship to test the Japanese appetite for the product with a minimal short-term investment, before deciding whether to build or acquire its own sales operation there. The approach also suggests Apple might choose to do similar in other global markets, perhaps elsewhere in Asia, or in regions such as South America.
Elsewhere, Dentsu’s Cyber Communications Inc CCI recently entered into a partnership with U.S.-based OpenX, with plans to launch a Japanese ad exchange by January next year.