The shot heard around the media planning and buying technology world provoked much commentary. Here’s our two cents:
It’s about time. MediaBank (MB) has been making inroads at the holding companies, notably IPG and Publicis. However Omnicom Media Group and WPP’s GroupM seemed to be firmly in the DDS camp and weren’t planning to switch to MediaBank any time soon. Now DDS can spend less time defending business and MB can scale back business development efforts allowing the combined entity to invest further in R&D.
MediaBank is further along at the task of developing Digital planning and buying applications. DDS has had a tougher time with iDesk, although the latest version is gaining traction.
The back office applications are where the rubber meets the road. The DDS IBM mainframe accounting package (ACCPAK) is mature and the industry standard for traditional media billing. The holding companies have a huge investment in integrating ACCPAK with their data warehouses, dashboards and reporting systems. No way OMG, GroupM or Aegis were rebuilding that infrastructure.
DDS has been scaling back staff over the past few years, and quite a few of those talented folks ended up at MB. They are well positioned to lead the integration efforts.
Speaking of integration, it is not going to be easy. DDS is based on IBM 3270 mainframe technology with custom built application interfaces. It requires connection to its WAN and proprietary Windows client applications. MediaBank, because of it’s legacy of acquisitions, has .Net, Unix, and Oracle tech stacks. MB has both self hosted and ASP delivery models as well as desktop and web based client applications. There is little common ground here. The strategy behind integrating the technology will be critical.
They seem to have the right guys at the helm. Bill Wise, who put together the first digital ad exchange at RightMedia obviously gets it. So does J.T. Batson, formally of the Rubicon project. These are guys with cutting edge digital experience. Yay. And Michael Donovan is still the guy…. he has owned this space with the holding companies for the past 30 years.
When we last reported on this topic there was anticipation around this sort of a development. It’s happening. Very exciting times in the media planning/buying technology space!