Report Finds WPP's Xaxis Unit's Global Revenues Increased Nearly 20% in 2015

Ad Age’s Agency Report 2016 has some interesting nuggets, and some of them pertain to programmatic media.

For example, the report found that holding company WPP has the most wide-ranging relationship with Google. WPP (including Essence, a digital agency acquired by WPP) in 2015 was found to have increased Google worldwide spending on behalf of clients by 25% to $4 billion. In fact, WPP expects its business with Google to exceed $5 billion in 2016. And last year, WPP injected $1 billion into advertising on Facebook, up from $650 million in 2014. That’s a lot of dough.

This proves once again that Facebook and Google are the 800-lb. gorillas of digital advertising, where most of the digital dollars available are spent.

One disappointing fact: Ad Age's rankings of media agencies excluded programmatic media buying such as data from WPP's Xaxis and Omnicom's Accuen programmatic units, where revenue includes billings for media bought and resold to clients. The report noted that Xaxis’ worldwide revenues increased about 20% to around $930 million in 2015 from $775 million in 2014.



Unfortunately, Omnicom doesn't disclose programmatic revenue, but there are some directional signals. Ad Age reports that Omnicom's programmatic media business -- including digital programmatic unit Accuen and programmatic buying at Omnicom media agencies -- accounted for "a little less than 2%" of 2014 worldwide revenue, Chief Financial Officer Philip Angelastro told investors on an earnings call.

This implies that Omnicom's 2014 worldwide programmatic revenue was a little less than $306 million.

Accuen's 2015 organic revenue grew by about $140 million, according to statements that Omnicom made on earnings calls.

Taking those two figures into account, the findings suggest that Omnicom's 2015 worldwide programmatic revenue increased to a little less than $446 million -- or as Ad Age put it, “possibly more, assuming programmatic buying at Omnicom media agencies grew, or possibly less, in the event programmatic buying at Omnicom media agencies shrunk.”

What these figures portend for the NewFronts is anyone’s guess. Publishers are trotting out their plans this week in a series of start-studded dog and pony shows. What seems clear is that programmatic media buying and planning is a delivery tool, an automated vehicle, by which advertising -- and most importantly, digital video -- is set to take the world by storm. But will anyone look at the ads?

How about some data on that?

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