MediaCom keeps top agency spot as OMD's billings surge

LONDON - MediaCom has retained its status as the number-one media agency for the sixth year in a row, according to preliminary 2007 Nielsen Media Research billings data, while OMD recorded the strongest growth of the top five agencies.

Figures obtained by Media Week show that MediaCom achieved a 6.4% year-on-year increase in billings compared to 2006, spending £971m buying media last year compared to £913m in 2006.
MediaCom North billings were included in the MediaCom figure for the first time.

Last year, MediaCom North increased its billings to £89m, an increase of 38.9% on 2006.The figures include spending across TV, press, cinema, radio and outdoor, but not online. MediaCom chief executive Nick Lawson said that, if online was included in the Nielsen data, MediaCom would be the first £1bn UK media agency.

OMD remained second in the billings table, but a surge of new business saw the Omnicom agency increase billings by 7.5% year on year to £847m. Steve Williams, group chief executive of OMD UK, said that wins such as Virgin Media, Royal Mail and, were behind the agency’s growth. OMD also retained HMV Group, adding Waterstone’s, as well as holding on to The Carbon Trust.

Six of the top 10 media agencies increased billings in 2007, compared to four in 2006. WPP agency Mediaedge:cia was the big winner, having increased billings from £240m in 2006 to £350m in 2007, a 46% gain year on year. This was offset slightly by Mediaedge:cia Manchester, which recorded billings down from £79m in 2006 to £57m last year.

Tom George, chief executive of MEC, attributed its success in part to winning the £35m Danone account at the end of 2006 and MEC’s client retention record – the agency only lost one account in 2007.

Interpublic Group had a tough 2007, according to the research, with Initiative Media spending almost £100m less compared to 2006. Sister agency Universal McCann recorded an 8.7 year-on-year drop in spend to £157m, while Universal McCann Manchester increased media spend from £52m in 2006 to £61m in 2007.
Overall, media bought directly by clients fell by more than £7m in 2007, compared to 2006, totalling £406m.

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