OMD, MTV Networks Strike $300 Million Upfront Deal

Digital Properties Get About 10% of Dollars

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NEW YORK ( -- OMD and MTV Networks have struck the first upfront deal, worth an estimated $300 million and involving some 30 clients. OMD, which represents major youth brands such as PepsiCo and McDonald's, among many others, is connecting with MTV Networks' on-air and online properties. The deal fits in with MTV Network Group's strategy for this year's upfront to sell across all its properties.

Responsive to multiplatform
OMD CEO Joe Uva acknowledged his agency traditionally does an early deal with MTV Networks, but sees this year as different. "What makes this deal different is the fact that it is the first time during an upfront negotiation that we're able to have clients responsive to talking about additional platforms in addition to linear business," he said.

Mr. Uva declined to name which clients are involved in the deal. He also declined to discuss pricing, though he said 10% of the dollars would head in the direction of digital platforms. MTV Networks' digital offerings include Motherload on Comedy Central's Web site and niche sites such as the recently acquired iFilm and Neopets.

The deal also includes a study that will examine the concept of "transference," which MTV coined as an idea that "consumers extend the positive feelings they have for media brands to the advertisers that appear in the context of these brands." The research will also show whether certain ad brands might also have a positive impact on how a channel is viewed.

OMD will try to identify specific transference levels for target customers and measure the impact of a cross-platform media presence. It will use the study to create brand and category benchmarks by which they can measure how well specific campaigns performed.

Several of OMD's youth-skewing brands are already major MTV advertisers and sponsors of the network's Video Music Awards show. The agency and network's close ties may have played to their advantage in trying to tie up an early deal including MTV's various properties.

Help drive the upfront
Two months ago, Hank Close, exec VP-ad sales for MTV Networks Music and Comedy Group, told Ad Age MTV's multiplatform offerings would help drive its upfront market, especially since "there's a little bit of scarcity" around those types of deals. In a statement today, Sue Danaher, exec VP-ad sales, again referenced the limited supply of such assets, saying that "by moving early with us, OMD has secured premium multi-platform opportunities for its clients in a market where viable digital assets are scarce."

The group, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and TV Land, has begun to form a team coined Client Solutions that will look for integrated opportunities across the group's channels, much like a mini Viacom Plus. It's unclear whether this deal was done through the new integrated unit.

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Claire Atkinson contributed to this report.
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