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Omnicom Teams With Shoppable Livestream Startup Firework to Grow Ecommerce Offerings

The deal is expected to help the agency group's clients compete with social media

Omnicom Media Group has signed a deal with shoppable video platform Firework that will make the startup’s short-form and livestreaming capabilities available to all of the agency holding company’s clients.

The agency giant is hoping the partnership will give its growing roster of clients in the online retail space better access to tools that will allow them to embed live commerce videos directly into their websites. The signing comes as shoppable livestreaming has become a fast-growing category in the United States, with investors and retailers attempting to replicate the popularity the format has seen overseas in Asian markets.

Omnicom is the first agency holding company to ink such a deal with Firework, which has previously signed clients like Albertsons, Unilever and The Fresh Market. The deal will also give Omnicom first-look access to Firework’s beta products and research. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Frank Kochenash, CEO of ecommerce at Omnicom, said the agency’s retail clients now have better tools to compete with social networks in hosting their own shoppable videos.

“What’s exciting to us about this partnership with Firework is that it enables brands to better participate in social commerce by making it feasible for them to have short-form video, livestreaming and live commerce embedded directly into their sites,” Kochenash said. “So that the experience that certain segments of customers have come to expect on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are available to them directly on their site.”

Omnicom Media Group chief activation officer Megan Pagliuca said Firework was chosen after assessing each of the players in the space and finding that none matched its comprehensive suite of offerings.

“We evaluated, and we really thought Firework was the leader in the space,” Pagliuca said. “We haven’t seen many with competitive offerings based on the full kind of consumer experience on-site and connected to media. So as we learn more about the offering, we think there’s huge value for our clients over time.”

While livestream commerce is still largely nascent in the United States, Coresight Research expects the market to grow to $25 billion by the end of 2023 from its current size of around $11 billion. Firework is betting that as the trend migrates from China to the United States, it will evolve to center more on direct-to-consumer sales to match the current structure of the ecommerce market here.

“There’s one single difference [between the U.S. and Chinese ecommerce markets]: Western market transactions do not happen on social media,” said Firework co-founder and CEO Vincent Yang. “Instead of a social media transaction, they happen on direct-to-consumer websites or retailer websites. Around 97% of transactions happen on these websites.”