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IPG, DDS Renew $25 Billion Media Deal

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After months of negotiations, Donovan Data Systems has succeeded in renewing its contract  to process some $25 billion in annual ad buys for Interpublic Group media shops.

The IPG agencies place more than $25 billion in annual ad buys collectively each year. That business will, as a result of the renewal, continue to be processed by DDS.

The deal, which was negotiated by Mediabrands, IPG's media management arm, is a blow to Chicago-based MediaBank. That company, a relative newcomer to the ad transaction business, has been vocally challenging DDS for dominance in the sector. The challenger has tried to position itself as a competitor with a modern system that is more adept at processing digital orders. But earlier this year, DDS unveiled its own new system for handling digital ad buys.

Mediabrands confirmed the new agreement in a statement from Greg Smith, the unit's CIO and president, technology, strategy and development: "Given the velocity of change in our industry, DDS showcased excellence and innovation in data media management coupled with a solid track record on integration experience. DDS brought Mediabrands impressive new solutions, tools and innovative models."

Smith also noted that DDS works with many of Mediabrands existing technology suppliers and has demonstrated its ability to "bring together companies coupled with powerful ideas to restructure their systems to meet the high demand of the marketplace."

Late last year, Media Bank succeeded in wresting its biggest client to date -- Publicis Groupe's Starcom Mediavest Group -- away from Donovan. SMG became the first major holding company media network to assign most of its business to the upstart.

The deal was mired in controversial accusations between DDS and SMG that are still being hashed out in a New York City arbitration proceeding.

MediaBank, meanwhile, continues to acquire ad transaction-related assets to strengthen its offering. Just last month it bought Mediaplex Systems, a unit of ValueClick, to bolster its cross-platform transactions capabilities.

DDS declined comment and referred calls to Mediabrands. A Media Bank rep did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The other holding companies continue to handle the bulk of their transactions with the DDS system. In September, DDS re-upped Havas' MPG and independents RJ Palmer and Rubin Postaer Associates.