In a back office blockbuster, agency back office systems providers Mediabank and Donovan Data Systems (DDS) have put down their boxing gloves and become best buds. According to The Wall Street Journal's Emily Steel, the companies are hoping to head off Google's best efforts to invade the back office which pulses with data, if properly analyzed, can reveal how marketing channels work together and may even provide a solution for attribution and media mix modeling. Steel writes, "The closely held companies value their combination at $1.5 billion and will together process $150 billion in global advertising spending each year, according to people familiar with the matter. Both companies declined to disclose their revenues." Read about it (subscription). And, more on Reuters.
As their LinkedIn profile notes, MediaOcean was previously a DDS product line - guess both companies liked the name.
Interesting to see MediaOcean position around an "operating system" for advertising as once again "the stack" or "plumbing" or -in this case- "the OS" is the bigger idea that larger companies in the ad tech ecosystem are targeting. This not only puts MediaOcean in competition with Google, but also a few other players such as AppNexus and Adobe's Omniture unit which is also going for a "plumbing" play.
This merger was also likely a preventative measure for both companies. If either Donovan or MediaBank had been acquired by Google, for example, the writing might have been on the wall for the one left out in the cold.
As both companies emphasize, this deal won't be done until the U.S. Department of Justice finishes its review. It would seem that MediaOcean could become an acquirer in the space as it looks to fill out the pipes in its plumbing in addition to providing the API access for innovating tech companies. How about Centro and its media buying platform targeting smaller and mid-tier agencies?
LUMA Partners helped bring the deal together from the Donovan Data System (DDS) side and LUMA's Terence Kawaja comments on the deal from his company's blog:
One method to rationalize the ecosystem is through consolidation. That is the impetus of the deal to create MediaOcean. This universal OS with its open APIs will allow other companies with innovative technologies in media or data to plug in and benefit from the efficiency of a unified system. Think of what the iPhone/iOS and Android platforms did for the app development ecosystem.
- Interview with Bill Wise (MediaBank) and JT Batson (DDS)
- Industry Reaction from VivaKi, MediaMath, Omnicom Media Group
By John Ebbert