Another oft-voiced concern within media agencies is that the automation of digital media buying will eventually lead to reductions in headcount. Kathuria makes a forceful case that this will not happen.
"I've got people all the time who go, 'Vik. Oh, my God, programmatic buying. They'll take our jobs! We'll lose jobs!' No. Programmatic buying, is not, I repeat, is not about efficiency. It's about efficacy," he says.
Rather than automating roles, MediaCom's leadership believes audience buying is about giving media buying teams the tools and time to do strategic thinking and focus on client relationships.
The latter half of 2012 brought an increase in rallying cries for guaranteed or "premium" programmatic. While the term's definition is still elusive, MediaCom says it's already a reality in its relationships with big media partners.
Kathuria puts it this way: "We [at GroupM] happen to be the biggest media buyer in the world.With that buying power comes the ability to work very closely with our premium partners.At NBC, for example, we have deals in place for access to premium inventory via our audience buying platform. We have to have the ability to access in real time clear inventory."