Strata Reaches A New One, Integrates With Microsoft Ad Serving Systems
The development, which will enable Strata shops to seamlessly execute online and interactive TV buys through Microsoft's Atlas system beginning this month, follows other important breakthroughs Strata has been working on with the Microsoft team ever since its digital media processing system became operational last summer, and the cozy relationship speaks volumes about some important ties among some big players in the world of Madison Avenue media processing.
Microsoft, of course, is a strategic investor in Strata parent Comcast Corp. Microsoft also is one of the biggest clients of Interpublic's MediaBrands operations, which is close to announcing a new contract for processing its $25 billion-plus in annual media buys, in which Strata has been the dark horse contender against incumbent Donovan Data Systems and high-profile and highly capitalized challenger MediaBank.
MediaBank, which is expected to win the Interpublic pitch, has prided itself on developing new, state-of-the-art systems for processing digital media buys, and is best known for winning most of the media processing business for Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group. But MediaBank's biggest developments over the past year have been the acquisitions of legacy data processing companies that have strong ties to analog media: Datatech and MediaPlex Systems. The latter was a former ValueClick unit that ironically began life as an in-house media processing system at Interpublic's McCann-Erickson division.
Donovan has also developed and deployed new, state-of-the-art digital media processing systems, but Strata has quietly been working behind the scenes to harness its relationships with big digital media conglomerates. Aside from its relationship with Microsoft, it has been leveraging its relationship with parent Comcast and the rest of the cable TV industry to develop and deploy an array of advanced and interactive TV advertising systems. The cable TV industry concurrently has been working to enhance those systems and to make it easier of agencies and advertisers to buy addressable and interactive TV advertising via their so-called Canoe Ventures initiative, headed by former Carat Americas chief David Verklin.
Strata, which was founded in 1983, currently lists Horizon Media and Anheuser-Busch's in-house media operations among its biggest clients, has done development work for a variety top Madison Avenue media services shops, including Interpublic's Universal McCann unit. It also provides data processing services to SpotRunner, whose investors include Interpublic and WPP Group.