Luma Partners CEO Terry Kawaja says outlook for digital advertising ecosystem, despite challenges, remains optimistic

Terry Kawaja

Despite the advertising duopoly of Facebook and Amazon, a downturn in VC funding and mounting concern at the lack of transparency in programmatic advertising, one of the leading thinkers and merger and acquisition advisers in the space states that although there are challenges in digital marketing, there is a case for optimism.

LUMA Partners founder and chief executive Terence Kawaja spoke with Beet.TV recently where he maintains his optimism in part because of “growth, new entrants and deals.”

He explained: “Regardless of the challenges that do exist and have to be addressed, we’re seeing more and more dollars flood into digital. When you think about super-charging that with artificial intelligence, we believe the organic growth of the sector is going to continue unabated for the next foreseeable future.”

Although LUMA’s published State Of Digital Media report shows a dip in venture funding to ad-tech companies, private equity is growing – and Kawaja sees that as a sign of sector maturation.

“We’re seeing large companies with massive capabilities coming in to the space, making investments and acquisitions from a diverse group of buyers ranging from large CRM marketing clouds to big data and media companies, telcos, and even private equity. That ought to be a very strong ‘buy’ signal.”

Further, while many grumble about a duopoly in advertising, Kawaja tips Amazon to extend its cloud and voice-controlled device expertise in to digital ad services.

“We are getting deals done at fantastic valuations, at great multiples that do not reflect the negativity associated with some of the publicly-traded companies.”

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Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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