Modi is not WPP’s first crack at a vertically focused agency unit. Wunderman and MEC recently launched Choreograph, a data-driven division aimed squarely at the converging paid, earned and owned media space. Bologna, who has worked among the WPP/GroupM ranks for about 15 years, said while “test-and-experiment” may be the order of the day in new media, creating a formal unit to service that sea change “really sends the message that we want to put our money where our mouth is.”
However, incorporating consumers’ changing consumption patterns within a media plan requires a mix of deeper data, better infrastructure and a cultural mind shift, as well. For instance, cable operators, satellite TV companies and telcos will have to invest in the kind of inventory management that enables individual or targeted household profile placements at scale. The systems and data to deploy these are "coming together," Bologna said.
Additionally, advertisers that historically focused on broad demographics in TV advertising must look beyond those parameters to address more than the “18-49-year-old woman with kids under 12.” These advertisers will need to push more data into the targeting mix based on factors they might not have previously considered, for instance credit score or household purchase histories for a specific product.
“I don’t think every TV network will go addressable because mass media is good and it works and you have to hit everybody with a certain amount of messaging for most brands,” Bologna acknowledged. “However, at the end of the day, if you can increase that frequency to your household target, it can really improve the ROI.”
Modi will have 20 employees to start, but Bologna expects the number to double by the end of the year. Modi is broken down into four pillars of solutions and services: Digital Content and Distribution, which focuses on digital content sales and rentals across cable, satellite and connected devices; Interactive Television, focusing on multiplatform planning, buying, production and data analysis; Addressable TV, focusing on targeted placements at the individual household level; and Hyper-local TV, focusing on targeted placements by zone, geography or past-purchase data.