Omnicom CEO Discusses 'Programmatic Strategy' With Wall Street

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programmatic-strategyOn agency holding company Omnicom's Q2 2013 earnings call today with Wall Street analysts, CEO John Wren and CFO Randall Weisenburger talked "programmatic strategy" as Omnicom’s net income for the most recent quarter increased 2.4% to  $289.5 million from $282.7 million in Q2 of 2012. Read the earnings release (PDF).

The holding company is looking to execute via data-driven business units known as Annalect and Accuen on behalf of Omnicom's marketer clients.  And, in response to a question from  analyst William Bird of Lazard who asked about "strategy around programmatic buying and Accuen?," the executive soffered (from SeekingAlpha):

  • JOHN WREN: "Digital buying of media is done by machines as if you're standing on the floor of the NASDAQ as opposed to in a traditional media shop. (...) I hold the long-term belief that, eventually, traditional media -- or a lot of the traditional media will get purchased that way. So where we have a client need, we've been expanding the service and opening up the capability (...) major country by major country. And it improves every day because [it's] more volume, more activity, it just expands, and we can probably continue to expand for the foreseeable future in terms of what it can do."
  • RANDALL WEISENBURGER: "And the labor in that space is really in developing the technology and developing the insights. So as of right now, while buying uses a lot more technology, the development of that technology, the programming and insights that we give from one client to the next is still obviously very labor intensive."
  • JOHN WREN: "As you can imagine, the publishers are changing their algorithms constantly, so we're changing our algorithms constantly."

Weisenburger statement raises the question, again, of whether the agency model can keep up with the requirements of a "big data"-infused media world teeming with data scientists.  Omnicom is banking that Annalect and Accuen (read AdExchanger's interview from yesterday) are the answer.

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