Interpublic Group is making good on recent pledge to automate 50% of its cross-channel buying activity by 2016. The holding company's Mediabrands division has signed up a group of broadcast partners to install an automated media buying system that will span TV, radio, and digital out-of-home ads.
The list of the IPG Mediabrands' initial partners is not long and suggests a focus on regional broadcast stations. The group includes Clear Channel, Tribune Co. (owner of 20-plus TV stations), A&E Networks, and Cablevision. No major TV networks have signed up, though NBC Universal is reportedly mulling the idea, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. AOL is also included in the company's announcement, which also spans display, video, and mobile.
IPG said in a statement the goal is to "modernize and streamline media negotiations through expanded use of data and technology- based buying platforms." It's not yet clear to what extent the ads may be addressable or what technology partners will support the buying interface.
Among holding companies, IPG has been perhaps the most aggressive in its near-term projections about automation of traditional media – shooting for 50% automation of all media by 2016. Its articulation of these plans has always focused on efficiency -- rather than RTB, data and, addressability.
As Mike Brunick, SVP, Programmatic at IPG's Magna Global, said earlier this summer, "There's a difference between automation and programmatic. Programmatic is one component of overall automation … We have to focus beyond digital, which is just 20% of our overall spend."
In a recent interview with AdExchanger, Magna Global North America President Kristi Argyilan said Mediabrands is laying the groundwork for cross-channel automation of media buying and that plans would come to fruition soon.
"As the platforms become more sophisticated and the inventory is available for more traditional media, we start to get to cross-channel, real-time optimization," she said.
Back in April IPG's Cadreon trading desk was placed under Argyilan's supervision at Magna, suggesting the holding company's future moves toward automation will come from that arm.
A few of IPG's consortium partners offered statements on the brave new world of data-driven efficiency.
"Our current technology infrastructure will not only help automate the traditional media buying process, but will also allow partners like IPG to better leverage our national scale and local activation capabilities for their clients," said Tim Castelli, President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships for Clear Channel.