GroupM Forms New Agency to Specialize in Addressable TV Ads

Modi to Employ 20 and Be Led By Michael Bologna, GroupM's Director-Emerging Communications

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As data and technology become a more critical part of TV advertising, GroupM this week launches a buying and planning agency dedicated to digital distribution, addressable TV, hyper-local TV and interactive TV.

The unit, dubbed Modi, will have 20 employees and be led by Michael Bologna, GroupM's director-emerging communications.

Modi will be available to GroupM's agencies and clients, and will also seek business from clients not affiliated with GroupM shops. The company declined to disclose clients, but said it has signed two entertainment marketers that were not previously working with GroupM.

Data-based buying "is no longer an afterthought," he added. "All of TV will operate eventually in this way."

The news comes as technology and media executives convene in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show this week, where over-the-top platforms, advanced set-top boxes, 4K and smart TVs will be the buzzwords.

Modi's focus will be addressable TV, which allows marketers to target at a household level and send commercials only to set-top boxes of households that fit specific characteristics desired by the advertiser, such as a particular income level. According to GroupM, 40% of U.S. households can receive addressable ads.

Ads can also be targeted on a hyper-local level to specific zones or ZIP codes, which is important to marketers highly concentrated in certain neighborhoods.

Mr. Bologna acknowledged addressable won't become the way all TV ads are bought.

Modi will also handle planning, buying, production and data analysis of interactive TV, which Mr. Bologna said has evolved into allowing viewers to interact with dedicated brand channels, custom content and games.

A unit within Modi will work with entertainment clients to promote movies and programs when they become available via on-demand platforms like iTunes, Microsoft's Xbox, Amazon and Walmart's Vudu.

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