Carat’s global president and U.S. CEO Doug Ray recalls a recent conversation with a client, who admitted to thinking of media five years ago as a commodity product. Fast forward to now, and the differences between media agencies and even holding companies look stark.

In Ray’s view, that’s because of factors like the growth of data and programmatic, as well as decision-making over the years over whether to take investment in various media owners and technology companies. As a result, “different holding companies and agencies are now fundamentally taking different positions and having different philosophies,” he says in an interview with Beet.TV.

Going forward, “the client is going to actually have to ask themselves which philosophy and which approach do I align with,” he says.

At dmexco next month, Ray expects discussions with clients and partners to center on the same topics that have been generating buzz all year, namely data, transparency, and the continued migration of legacy media over into addressable, automated channels and formats.

This interview is part of a series of videos leading up to the DMEXCO conference in Cologne. The series is presented by 4C + Teletrax.