Magazine article Marketing

Media: Top 50 Media Agencies

Magazine article Marketing

Media: Top 50 Media Agencies

Article excerpt

Media agency billing figures for 2007 show the dominance of big buying units, confirming the need for differentiation and versatility among smaller independent players, writes Nicola Clark.

The UK's top five media agencies experienced an impressive increase in billings in 2007. WPP's Group M agencies also demonstrated their dominance, with MediaCom, MindShare and Mediaedge:cia clinching three of the top 10 spots in the table.

MediaCom comfortably retained its position as the UK's biggest agency for the sixth year running. The ballooning budget of flagship client Sky, which significantly increased its marketing spend in 2007 to offset the launch of Virgin Media, was key to this growth. Business wins, including Eos Airlines, eBookers and Great Ormond Street Hospital, also helped to ensure a solid performance for Group M's biggest agency.

Group M posted a 7.7% increase in billings by holding company. The phenomenal buying power of its agencies has made it imperative that its rivals differentiate themselves, and the year brought continued investment in digital strategy and content creation.

Tom George, chief executive of Mediaedge:cia - Marketing's media agency of the year 2007 - says that the agency landscape has evolved significantly over the past 12 months as the scope of business has broadened. 'Media agencies are increasingly involved in a much greater range of activities, from econometrics to website navigation and search,' he adds.

Agencies certainly need a greater range of resources to compete, but as procurement becomes omnipresent even in small pitches, many independent operators believe the traditional media agency market is becoming ever-more price-led.

However, Nick Theakstone, chief operating officer of Group M, maintains that although the agencies in the biggest buying units are thriving, it is not just a question of purchasing power. 'Buying is only one part of the business; the real growth spurt is agency-driven. They own the client relationships, and they drive the business forward. We are really just a support mechanism,' he says.

In new business terms, 2007 was a relatively quiet year. Big domestic account moves included Coca-Cola consolidating its planning and buying into Vizeum, while on the global front Carat scooped Mattel's pounds 125m account from MindShare, and picked up Johnson & Johnson's European business.

TOP MEDIA AGENCIES

07  06                          2007      %  Selection of highest-
 rank   Agency              billings   diff  spending clients*
                          (pounds m)

1   1   MediaCom              984.88    7.9  BSkyB, Boots, Procter &
                                             Gamble, T-Mobile
2   2   OMD                   860.00    9.1  Reckitt Benckiser,
                                             Vodafone, Virgin Media,
                                             McDonald's
3   3   MindShare Media UK    723.37   -2.2  Argos, Hutchinson 3G UK,
                                             Homebase
4   4   Starcom UK Group      658.05   -0.6  Cadbury, Associated
                                             Newspapers, Interbrew,
                                             Capital One
5   5   Carat                 648.51    4.9  British Gas, Beiersdorf UK,
                                             Dell, Abbey
6   6   ZenithOptimedia       565.58   -3.5  L'Oreal Paris, Masterfoods,
                                             B&Q, 02
7   8   Mediaedge:cia UK      408.86   28.1  Morrisons, Specsavers,
        (MEC UK)                             Nintendo UK, Danone
8   7   Initiative Media      277.12  -25.6  Orange, Tesco, Johnson &
        London                               Johnson, Pfizer Consumer
                                             Healthcare
9   9   Walker Media          267.21    4.0  Marks & Spencer, Currys, PC
                                             World, Barclays
10  11  PHD                   243. … 
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