GroupM partners with SpotX for premium video supply

The partnership marks the next step in a growing trend of holding companies consolidating supply partners in the crowded ad tech space.

Why you should care: For a while, media agencies lost their key value add - negotiating tactics - to automation in the programmatic supply chain. By partnering with select programmatic supply partners, they’re able to regain that leverage by negotiating fees and add value by ensuring transparency to their clients.

WPP’s GroupM has appointed video supply-side platform SpotX as its preferred partner for programmatic video inventory, both digital and over the top TV.

The partnership is not exclusive, and the global media planning and buying behemoth will continue working with other supply platforms based on client needs. But prioritizing a vetted, premium partner allows the agency group to guarantee savings, transparency and inventory quality for clients in the murky programmatic supply chain.

“We have been consolidating our supply partnerships for a long time by making sure each offers unique inventory at the best possible rates for GroupM clients,” said Esra Bacher, managing partner and programmatic investment lead at the WPP unit.

In addition to discounts, SpotX and GroupM will co-develop products that allow its agencies better access to inventory and target audiences. Bacher declined to describe the nature of the discounts or any products on the road map, but said the group will focus primarily on transparency into fees, inventory quality and data access. GroupM says it will reinvest any savings back into the programmatic auction.

The partnership also allows GroupM clients to request a fully transparent audit on any bid that goes through the SpotX platform, which is a fairly standard ask in traditional media but is difficult to access in the programmatic space.

“If the client can ask for invoices from broadcasters, why shouldn't this be available in a programmatic world?” said Axel Jonuschies, managing partner of global programmatic investment at GroupM.

The deal with SpotX builds on a similar preferred partnership between GroupM and another supply platform, Index Exchange, inked in March. It marks the next step in a trend of agencies consolidating around preferred supply partners to mitigate the complexities of programmatic and strike better deals for their clients.

The SpotX deal is a “carbon copy” of the Index Exchange deal, which has proven to be valuable to clients both in product development and also savings, Bacher said. She declined to share results from the Index Exchange partnership. 

“Given the increase in CTV viewership, we felt it was good to prioritize that media marketplace with this concept as well,” she said.

There are tons of supply platforms in the space, but GroupM chose SpotX because of its superior ability to plan and forecast inventory and measure on the back end. “They have a great publisher footprint in the U.S. and globally,” Bacher added.

The partnership falls under the purview of GroupM’s Premium Supply group, which launched in 2017 and is available in 10 global markets.

“Supply side platforms are evolving from being a dumb pipe into publisher inventory to be sophisticated enablers,” Bacher said. “Buyers are going to lean more into partnerships because of the value they bring to these relationships.”

GroupM serves WPP agencies including Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/SIX, managing in excess of $63 billion of annual media spend.

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