GroupM, the WPP media oversight arm, has created the role of chief digital investment officer for its North American operations and has named digital
media veteran Ari Bluman to fill it.
GroupM said it was making the move, given the current size of digital spending industry-wide, and that double-digit growth is expected in the sector for years to come.
Last month, GroupM forecasters revised the company’s projection for digital spending this year, saying it would be stronger than initially anticipated. The new estimate predicts that growth in measured digital media globally would climb 18% in 2012 to $99 billion. Earlier, the company expected growth in the medium to reach just 16%. The new figure represents 20% of all measured ad spend for 2012.
For 2013, digital spending is expected to be even stronger. GroupM is currently forecasting a 22% spending hike in the medium next year. Adam Smith, the company’s top forecaster, said digital spending trends are positive everywhere, regardless of local economic conditions.
“Internet advertising is growing in every country, so powerful is its structural and evolutionary development,” Smith stated when the revised forecast was issued last month.
Bluman joins GroupM from sibling WPP firm Real Media Group, a unit of 24/7 Media, where he was North American president since 2008. At RMG, Bluman was responsible for North American business development, ad operations, sales and client services.
In his new role, Bluman will lead and coordinate GroupM’s digital media strategy and oversee the company’s evolving relationships with key media company partners across all digital inventory categories. He will report to GroupM Chief Investment Officer Rino Scanzoni.
Scanzoni said Bluman's brief was to “harmonize our approach to the markets in both inventory and the data which informs our investment strategy for individual clients.” GroupM agencies include Maxus, MEC, MediaCom and Mindshare.
Prior to being named president at RMG, Bluman held several senior positions at the shop, which he joined in 1997. Earlier, he was vice president of sales at Now Marketing.