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Omnicom reveals revenue share venture with mobile ad firm Amobee

Details of a unique rev­enue shar­ing joint-ven­ture are emerg­ing between the mighty ad hold­ing com­pa­ny, Omni­com, and the up-and-com­ing mobile adver­tis­ing firm Amobee.

Adver­tis­ing jug­ger­naut Omni­com owns a pletho­ra of promi­nent agen­cies, includ­ing TBWA, DDB and BBDO, and its pact with Amobee marks a strik­ing new depar­ture, giv­en its appar­ent dis­like of dig­i­tal ad agencies.

Ori­gins of an aversion

A lit­tle his­to­ry helps to explain this aver­sion.  A major acqui­si­tion back in the late 1990s led to burnt fin­gers for the company’s CEO, John Wren. The stock he’d bought in two dig­i­tal ad firms, Organ­ic and, plunged in val­ue pre­cip­i­tous­ly as the crash of the late ’90s and ear­ly 2000s struck. Wren end­ed up los­ing a board mem­ber after the trau­ma, and faced a poten­tial­ly wound­ing law­suit against the com­pa­ny which, hap­pi­ly, proved unsuc­cess­ful. The two new­ly acquired agen­cies had to be quar­an­tined in “Seneca Invest­ments”, an off-bal­ance sheet vehicle.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, it’s tak­en the best part of a decade for Omni­com to over­come its tim­o­rous­ness and ven­ture back into the dig­i­tal ad space, this time by embrac­ing the bur­geon­ing mar­ket in mobile phones adver­tis­ing. Under the new arrange­ment, Amobee will col­lab­o­rate with Air­wave, Omnicom’s exist­ing mobile adver­tis­ing agency. Amobee’s plat­form will enhance Airwave’s capa­bil­i­ties, says Omni­com Asia’s CEO Bar­ry Cup­ples, who added, “With our own resources and tal­ent, work­ing with Amobee has giv­en us a head start in a space we believe will dom­i­nate with­in plat­form media, con­tent, and data pro­vi­sion. We will grow Air­wave togeth­er as partners.”

The virtues of sharing

From its ori­gins in Asia, Amobee now employs 200 peo­ple in Sin­ga­pore and San Fran­cis­co and has rapid­ly estab­lished itself as one of the largest pur­chasers of mobile ad inven­to­ry in Europe.  Clients include Barnes & Noble, Ebay and Google.

The company’s CEO Trevor Healy explains that the firm pro­vides “soup to nuts” mobile mar­ket­ing solu­tions, from cut­ting-edge apps to 3D media and tablets, right down to tra­di­tion­al dis­play ad buys. Omni­com is clear­ly aware of emerg­ing trends in the mobile mar­ket­place and knows that rich rev­enues can be tapped.


Omni­com is clear that the new arrange­ment isn’t an own­er­ship stake, it’s a rev­enue share which deft­ly leaves Amobee with all the owned-tech-asset risk, yet feeds Omni­com a gen­er­ous cut of the gross profit.

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