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Liz Jaques 

MediaOcean, the vision

Greg Koerner

MediaOcean will not be a bigger or better DDS or MediaBank but will instead be a brand new entity, according to Greg Koerner, CMO, MediaBank.

Speaking at MediaTel Group's invite-only event 'Why Aren't We All Trading Electronically?' event this week, Koerner described his vision for MediaOcean as a seamless electronic exchange, "eliminating errors". It will revolve around an operating system - "providing an opportunity for media buyers to create what they want", he said.

The industry will be able to decide what applications they need, which will ultimately become the standard, Koerner added.

He also explained that MediaOcean's strategy is to operate in an open window, allowing buyers and sellers to interact. This would be a far cry from the "closed" approach that DDS in particular has taken until recently. J-ET now links with DDS for radio buys and CARIA is in development to do so for TV, but Lorna Prentice, business systems director at GroupM, described neither as "fully integrated" yet.

Henry Lawson, chairman of Media Equals (and ex DDS CEO), said the merger is "positive". He believes there will be more opportunities for players in the business, which will be good for both buyers and sellers.

Graham Heap, product line manager at Harris, who are a third agency system player behind DDS and MediaBank in the States, but only in broadcast media in the UK, suggested there may be opportunities for others to move in whilst the two companies manage their merger.

DDS announced the news to merge with its main US competitor on 26 September. Koerner is not expecting approval before the end of the year - "we don't know how long it is going to take... they work on their own time," he said.

The two companies are expected to invest tens of millions of dollars to create new ad technologies and acquire businesses to expand the company's global capabilities., however the valuation document also points to significant savings via the merger.

MediaOcean will process around $150 billion in global ad spend annually. DDS and MediaBank are suggesting a joint valuation of $500 million.

The board for MediaOcean will be made up of three directors from DDS and three from MediaBank. J.T.Batson, president of DDS Digital, will take on a the role of president of MediaOcean.

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