"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Tobin Ireland, co-founder and CEO at Smartpipe.
When it comes to adding agencies to their portfolios, the major media groups are certainly not afraid to spend big. There were 398 acquisitions in 2016 with a total investment of $14 billion, according to consultancy R3. The Big Six – WPP, Dentsu, Havas, Publicis, IPG and Omnicom – were responsible for 89 acquisitions, at a value of more than $3.3 billion.
Figures through September showed 291 acquisitions this year. And in this game of agency supermarket sweep, many of the targets come from the data, digital and programmatic aisle.
But while collecting emergent businesses has always been the no-brainer route to revenue growth and new capabilities that – hopefully – future-proof the holding company, some regulatory changes may cast those shiny new purchases in a different light.
For instance, after May 2018, any company processing the personal data of EU citizens will need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a strict law that outlines how personal information should be used. And, as most global corporations have European subsidiaries or clients, the GDPR butterfly effect will likely reach them, too.
This might be less of a problem if global media, marketing and advertising holding companies had a track record of creating tight command-and-control structures for their operating companies or driving uniform organizational culture and operating models across each of their subsidiaries. But they don’t do that for very good reasons: They are creative-led businesses, which generate value with a diverse corporate portfolio.
Continue reading »