Omnicom Sings New Aria, Offers Media 'Procurement' Via OPera

Omnicom Thursday said it is expanding the scope of OPera USA to include "professional procurement resources. OPera, a holding company-level negotiating unit that was first introduced in Europe in 2005 and migrated to the U.S. more recently, was created to leverage the combined media buying clout of Omnicom's individual media services shops, including OMD, PHD, MDM and Prometheus. It now operates in 18 international markets.

"For a number of years now, OMD and PHD have been successfully following an OPera negotiating approach during the upfront TV market," stated Page Thompson, CEO of Omnicom Media Group North America. "We are now expanding this approach across multiple media types, and adding procurement expertise to our seasoned team of media buying experts."

It wasn't clear at press time exactly what Omnicom means by offering procurement services, which normally are a client-side function inside marketing organizations that evaluate and negotiate agreements with outside vendors, including media services agencies. But Daryl Simm, CEO of Omnicom Group Worldwide, who previously was involved in media procurement decisions as a top media executive at Procter & Gamble Co., added that the new procurement practice would enable Omnicom to do a "better job of meeting client expectations" by "providing them with the negotiating resources and training to keep them at the top of their game."

In recent years, client procurement units have been working with independent consultants and media auditors to measure the performance and value of their media services agencies.

While it wasn't clear exactly what kind of procurement services Omnicom plans to provide, it said it had hired two key executives to be part of the new OPera practice: Craig Glaser, director of procurement at Omnicom, and DJ Martin, director of indirect procurement at Colgate Palmolive North America.

Omnicom said the procurement executives would work the rest of the OPera organization to "develop negotiating strategies; pricing and contractual terms with vendors; performance measurement of buys; and aid in the management of vendor relationships."

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