Omnicom Q1: Accuen Adds $25M In New Revenue, As Programmatic Extends Steady Growth Rate

More than meets the eyeProgrammatic revenues from Omnicom’s trading desk, Accuen, grew $25 million YoY, the holding company noted Tuesday during its Q1 2016 earnings call.

Notably, Accuen’s performance since 2014 has reliably shown YoY revenue growth of between $20 million and $40 million.

  • Q1 2016 – $25M
  • Q4 2015 – $45M
  • Q3 2015 – $25M
  • Q2 2015 – $30M
  • Q1 2015 – $40M
  • Q4 2014 – $20M
  • Q3 2014 – not available
  • Q2 2014 – $40M

While these figures suggest consistent growth, a large percentage of Omnicom’s programmatic trading is done outside of the trading desk and is largely unaccounted for, noted Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.

“There’s a common misconception that all Accuen activities pass through revenues, upwardly distorting the revenue profile that Omnicom has,” he said.

Wieser said billions of dollars in transactions pass through other Omnicom entities like Icon International, which does barter trading, and OmNet, which trades traditional media. These entities often do trade programmatically, depending on your definition of the word – whether that implies a data-driven, targeted buy, or simply an automated transaction, he said.

“There can be programmatic trading that doesn’t go through the chain and doesn’t include a markup,” he said. “Just because it’s Accuen doesn’t mean it’s programmatic, and just because it’s programmatic doesn’t mean it’s Accuen.”

It remains to be seen how much the Procter & Gamble account will increase programmatic revenue growth – and whether that will be reported through Accuen or Omnicom’s new agency Hearts & Science, which was formed to service the account.

Either way, Wieser predicts Accuen will face a rapid transition in the coming years.

“In a couple of years [Accuen] will be the low-value ad trading platform,” he said. “Tonnage-based buys of TV, radio and print will all ultimately go under some centralized name and the higher-end, bespoke entities will come from OMD, PHD and Hearts & Science.”

Omnicom saw overall revenue growth of 0.9% in Q1 2016, from $3.496 billion to $3.499 billion. Organic revenue increased in all markets except Latin America, due to economic and political instability in Brazil.

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