OPera launches digital venture

Omnicom throws its weight behind online media by pooling £100m digital spend into one division.

OPera, the media negotiation arm of Omnicom, is extending its operations into the online buying market.

The joint venture between OMD and PHD is launching OPera Digital, which will bring together more than £100 million in online billings from OMD, PHD and Agency Republic.

OPera Digital will negotiate umbrella deals with major online media owners on behalf of Omnicom agencies. It is also hoping to persuade other Omnicom agencies that buy digital media, including Agency.com, Tribal DDB, Proximity and WWAV Media, to participate.

Day-to-day online buying will continue to be handled by each agency, but OPera will contribute scale and a streamlined approach to systems and technology.

Trading will be handled by John Overend and Marc Bignell, the joint managing directors of OPera, alongside the heads of online at participating Omnicom agencies, including Agency Republic's Martin Kelly.

Nick Manning, the joint chairman of OPera, said: "The digital market is settling down. We deal with a huge variety of media owners but the real volume is going through half-a-dozen vendors."

Martin Brooks, the chief executive of Agency Republic, added: "OPera Digital performs a different role from the offline equivalent as value in the digital space is not just about getting the best rates."

Last week, Adam Crow, the press director at OPera, left without a job to go to. His departure followed a decision to streamline all of OPera's trading under Overend and Bignell, rather than have heads of trading for each medium.

Comment, page 40.

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