Get ready for media agencies to split again, warns PHD strategy guru Mark Holden

PHD MARK HOLDEN cannes lions

Rather than a return to the full service agency model, PHD’s global strategy director Mark Holden has suggested that media agencies may be split again – between those involved in trading and those on the innovation side.

The prediction came during a keynote at the Cannes Lions festival from Holden, previously a managing partner at PHD Australia.

Among a string of predictions, Holden pointed to “the separation of media agencies”.

He suggested the split – if it happened – would be between “the bid-based side” and the “innovation side”.

He said:”Some agencies may even separate – possibly with trading exchanges within their wider group.”

Holden’s comments come within the context of a number of trends likely to see radical changes within agencies. They include:

  • The imminent move to automated trading
  • The now well-established habit of communications companies to do group wide trading deals with media owners
  • The rise of demand side platforms, which allow agencies to manage online inventory for all their clients in real time – and the potential for this to be extended beyond online.
  • The move towards media agency groups having consolidated digital teams, such as Reprise which sits across Mediabrands and Group M’s digital offering which spans Mediacom, Maxus, Mindshare and MEC.

The likelihood that the trading side of media will become increasingly technology-driven may even lead to a secondary market in media futures, with long and shorting of data and inventory in the same way that happens in other areas of the financial world, Holden also predicted.

The innovation side of what an agency does could increasingly become something done either by a creative agency or a media agency, with only different histories separating them, Holden later told Mumbrella.

He also predicted a healthy – but very different – outlook for the power of television. With fibre to the home installed, Internet-delivered TV will become the norm, offering the opportunity to personalise ads. With face recognition technology, this could even go as far as recognising who is viewing at the time and target the ad accordingly.

Privacy issues may also recede as consumers get used to volunterring limited information about themselves in return for a better experience, Holden said.

  • Holden will feature in this week’s Mumbrellacast which will be published later in the week.



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