Omnicom’s OMG revealed as backer of new Eric Newnham out of home contender Talon

Which will put the cat among the pigeons in all sorts of places, not least Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP which used to employ Eric Newnham (left), boss of new out of home contender Talon, as CEO of Kinetic.

Talon, which Newnham bought from City ad agency Ptarmigan, has got off to a flying start, chiefly through its win of the £150m Omnicom Media Group business in the UK which has moved from Aegis-owned Posterscope.

Walker Media (majority-owned by M&C Saatchi), Havas Media (formerly MPG Media Contacts) and indie the7stars are set to follow.

But now OMG, which buys media for Omnicom’s big agencies in the UK (alongside PHD) has confirmed to MAA that it is a shareholder in Talon. Which will clearly lead to speculation that it intends to use Talon as its own out of home buying vehicle, possibly on a global scale.

The out of home buying market worldwide is currently carved up between WPP’s Kinetic, with about $4bn of billings, and Aegis’ Posterscope. Interpublic’s IPM is a much smaller player.

The other two big marcoms companies, Omnicom and Publicis Groupe, have so far stayed above the fray although PG looked at the possibility of starting its own operation before the credit crunch.

But out of home, at times a murky area with big commissions for the lucky winners, is booming. It now includes things like experiential and field marketing as well as posters: but the real game-changer is mobile internet.

Opinions vary on whether or not this is a broadcast buy, a digital buy or out of home. But Newnham (who has also bought into mobile internet company Blis Media) and his OMG client EMEA chief Colin Gottlieb (who may also turn out to be his boss) clearly think that it falls into the out of home category. If they’re right the stakes in out of home have become dramatically higher and it would make sense for Omnicom to have its own operation.

Newnham sold his company Poster Publicity to WPP to form the basis of Kinetic. He recently completed an earn-out from Sir Martin Sorrell’s marcoms giant, only to form a formidable Omnicom-backed rival.

Those growling noises you hear as you wander through London’s Mayfair are emanating from WPP HQ in Farm Street.

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