GroupM Chairman On Rebates; Uniting Programmatic & Direct Sales At NY Times

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GroupM Chief On Rebates

At an ANA event in Phoenix this week, GroupM Chairman Irwin Gotlieb opened up about the kickback controversy, ignited by his former employee, ex-Mediacom CEO Jon Mandel. “Some clients are very distrustful of their agencies,” he said. “There are others who acknowledge they don't understand perhaps everything they should, and a little more visibility into things would be helpful.” But according to Gotlieb, GroupM has received very few pointed questions from clients on the topic, which, he added, “says as much about the clients – if not more – than it says about us, because there's a level of confidence about their ability to manage an agency that suggests that they're not paranoid." Ad Age has more.

Harmonizing Sales Channels

A white paper from Digital Content Next surveys the trade org’s members on the alignment of incentives between programmatic and high-touch sales, among other topics. Michael Stoeckel, who runs ad revenue operations for The New York Times, tells the authors, “We are empowering our direct sales team to be open to programmatic. We want to have all one-to-one deals go through the direct sales team, whether that is a dedicated programmatic budget or a programmatic line item within a larger media buy. There should be little to no difference between direct and programmatic deal terms, and both should be managed by the same people and be placed under the same scrutiny.” Read it.

Upfront Season, Now With Data

Broadcasters are coming armed to this year’s Upfronts with new analytics tools that mimic digital offerings, the WSJ reports. Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting is debuting an offering called “Turner Audience Now,” and NBCUniversal is unveiling a similar product called “Audience Targeting Platform.” According to Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s president of ad sales, advertisers “no longer have to choose between data-driven opportunities that digital gives them and the power and scale of premium video that NBCUniversal gives them.” Other broadcast execs are attacking digital. Twentieth Television’s EVP of media sales, Michael Teicher, said, “The TV industry should be fighting back in unison to raise the flag on these flaws,” in reference to digital plagues like fraud and viewability.

What Mobile Means For Journalism

The Pew Research Center released its annual “State of the News Media” report on Wednesday, and this year, all eyes are on mobile. According to the report, “39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers.” Pew also cites mobile – and newer developments such as watches and other wearables – as having the potential to resurface audio journalism that’s been long stifled by the Internet and social media news distribution. Not only are podcast downloads up significantly (41% at NPR), but mobile is a boon to legacy radio networks too, which can now tap listeners outside of their cars.

Contract Issues Impact Neustar

Neustar’s earnings were darkened by the FCC-authorized contract negotiations that will likely end with rival Ericsson as the next Local Number Portability Administrator. This is a big deal for Neustar, as that contract, which it held for 18 years, made up 49% of its revenue. “We are obviously disappointed by the FCC’s action,” said CEO Lisa Hook during the call. Neustar’s revenues increased 9% YoY to $251.4 million, ahead of analysts’ $245.6 million estimate. Revenue from its Marketing Services division increased 13% YoY to $37.2 million. Additionally, the company managed to decrease its operating expenses 2% YoY to $171.9 million. Read the release.

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