Publicis Groupe Acquires Programmatic Platform RUN

By: Staff | Sep 9 2015

The programmatic ad tech consolidation continues. Publicis Groupe has bought mobile-focused ad platform RUN, previously known as RUN DSP, the holding company said Tuesday. Read more on RUN's blog or read Publicis' release. Details of the deal – including price – were not disclosed.

It’s a significant move for the holding company, whose recent financials have been less than stellar. Publicis Groupe’s revenue grew a scant 4% year over year, reaching $2.21 billion in the third quarter of 2014. 

CEO Maurice Lévy blamed the meager growth on key account losses – many from its digital agency Razorfish – and what he referred to as the lingering “distraction” of the spectacularly anticlimactic failed merger with Omnicom.

Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) will leverage RUN's DMP and DSP in support of existing solutions, teams and agencies across Publicis Groupe, including ZenithOptimedia and Publicis trading desk VivaKi.

The RUN acquisition could mean that Publicis has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of WPP, the only other big-boy agency holding company that has pursued an ad tech "ownership" strategy via its Xaxis unit. WPP has previously invested in AppNexus and Rentrak. Omnicom, in the meantime, has Annalect – though the holding company's CEO John Wren indicated during his last earnings call it trailed Xaxis.

As part of VivaKi’s Audience on Demand platform (AOD), RUN will also be integral to Starcom MediaVest, Publicis Groupe’s media planning and buying hub. VivaKi will reportedly leverage RUN’s data-management platform and its demand-side platform (DSP) technology to enhance AOD. According to a VivaKi source, one of the desk’s first initiatives will be configuring RUN’s tech to power AOD for cross-channel advertising.

The question then becomes: Will there be an internal mandate for Publicis clients to tap into RUN? If a client has a pre-existing DSP relationship, that could cause some friction.

Full article available at http://bit.ly/1FxIci9

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