Media Dominates Conversation on Omnicom Earnings Call

CEO Wren: Google, Facebook Will Start Hiring More Engineers Than Marketers

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Omnicom CEO John Wren.
Omnicom CEO John Wren. Credit: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Growth from media agency networks continues to dominate the conversation on holding company earnings calls, and today's Omnicom call was no exception.

Media operations were among the strongest performers, said Omnicom CEO John Wren during the holding company's full-year and fourth-quarter 2015 earnings call. He also referenced Omnicom Media Group's massive Procter & Gamble win, which prompted the creation of a new agency within the media agency network.

Although Omnicom hasn't yet released details about the new network's brand or makeup, Mr. Wren said on the call that it will be different from its other two agencies, PHD and OMD, and have hubs around the world.

"We'll have the capacity to manage more client relationships as well as manage investments we've made in media capabilities across our business," said Mr. Wren. "Our platforms for data and analytics are much easier to leverage over geographies than they were in the past," he added later in the call in response to an analyst's question. "That's what we'll be doing."

Accuen, which is the media agency network's digital buying arm and media trading desk, contributed about $45 million in revenue this quarter, said CEO Phil Angelastro in response to a question from an analyst.

Digital media partnerships will also continue to play an increasingly important role for Omnicom, said Mr. Wren, who referred to Facebook and Google more as friends than competitors in response to a question about the relationships.

"Watch their employment numbers," he said. "How many people are Google hiring; how many people are Facebook hiring; and what kinds of people are they hiring? In earlier years, there was confusion as to whether they wanted to hire marketers or engineers." Now, he said, "I'm under the strong impression that as they look at their business they'll hire more engineers than marketers."

While much of the data and analystics powering the holding company sits within Annalect, which is part of Omnicom Media Group, the holding company plans to continue to embed data and analytics experts in account teams across agency groups, and push for collaboration among its different types of agencies. "Clients increasingly recognize this alignment leads to better, data-informed strategies that are more effective in today's fluid and personalized marketing environment," said Mr. Wren.

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