Will Specialize in Branded Entertainment Work

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NEW YORK ( -- Omnicom Group is creating a new branded entertainment unit and has hired Interpublic Group of Cos.' Robert Riesenberg to be its CEO, according to the company. The new operation does not yet have a name.

'The Restaurant'
Mr. Riesenberg is the chief of Interpublic's Magna Global Entertainment and a respected TV producer whose credits include NBC's reality series The Restaurant and the Emmy-winning Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation series.

According to the company, Mr. Riesenberg will be charged with evolving Omnicom's business model from one of a fee-based branded entertainment packager to that of an independent entertainment producer of TV, movie and music content. By owning the original content, the company opens itself to revenue streams beyond traditional ad agency service fees.

Omnicom is the holding company for a number of global advertising networks, including BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide and TBWA Worldwide.

The new unit will be part of the Omnicom Media Group, which includes Omnicom's media services companies, OMD and PHD, which have been developing branded entertainment ideas. Mr. Riesenberg's unit will be stand alone but collaborative with these units, the company said.

He will report directly to Daryl Simm, CEO of the Media Group, who in turn reports to Omnicom's CEO, John Wren.

In addition to hearing pitches from Hollywood and developing his own ideas, Mr. Riesenberg will also hear pitches generated within Omnicom.

Good ideas
"A good idea can come from anywhere. It could come from Guy McCarter [an executive at OMD Entertainment] or Tera Hanks [president of Davie-Brown Entertainment ]," said Bruce Redditt, executive vice president of Omnicom. He also said that other Omnicom units would also continue to develop their own projects outside of the new unit.

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