Publicis To Unveil New Media Unit, Tied To Digital Venture

Publics Groupe Media, which has quietly been recruiting high-level agency media executives, is days from announcing a major new digital business venture, the group's chief innovation officer said during an industry luncheon in New York on Tuesday. The executive, Publicis' Rishad Tobaccowala, would not disclose details of the new venture during his presentation at the Advertising Club of New York event, but he indicated it would have something to do with the talent Publicis Groupe Media has been amassing.

Recently, the unit raided Nick Pahade, executive vice president and managing director of WPP Group's Beyond Interactive unit, and MediaDailyNews has also learned that Scott Witt, group director-digital for Publicis' Coca-Cola City unit will also be involved.

Coca-Cola City is a part of Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group and oversees digital initiatives for the Coca-Cola Co. account at MediaVest.

While details of the new venture could not be discerned, Publicis has been hinting at doing things differently. Over the past year, it named former SMG Director of Emerging Contacts Tim Hanlon director of a new entity dubbed Publics Groupe Media Ventures. The role of the ventures unit also is vague. Publicis has not said whether it would actually invest capital in new media ventures, but it recently disclosed it had entered some kind of relationship with Brightcove, a company developing the online video marketplace.



The new Publicis Groupe Media initiatives come as other corporate-level agency media units are also formalizing their structures. WPP Group's Group M has been the most established, but Omnicom Group last year realigned the management team of its Omnicom Media Group. Last year, Interpublic recruited former MTV Networks chief Mark Rosenthal to head the Interpublic Media Group to oversee the efforts of Initiative, Magna Global and Universal McCann and he is expected to announce a formal plan soon.

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