WPP was the biggest holding company by billings whether you rank by media or creative agencies in 2018.
The owner of Grey, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, J Walter Thompson and Wunderman, and part-owner of VCCP, The & Partnership and Snap London, had a combined £1.11bn in creative billings in 2018, up 3.8% year on year, according to figures supplied exclusively to Campaign by Nielsen.
However, when The & Partnership (49% owned by WPP), VCCP and Snap (both part of Chime, which is 20% owned by WPP) were excluded, WPP slumps to third place with just £664.7m in creative billings, down 3.9% from 2017.
When only wholly owned agencies were included, Omnicom was the biggest holding company by creative billings with £988.9m in 2018, up 0.7% compare with 2017. Omnicom owns Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Adam & Eve/DDB, TBWA UK and Proximity.
Including Lucky Generals, in which Omnicom has a majority stake, the US-based holding company had £1.05bn in creative billings in 2018 – a flat performance year on year.
Total billings across media agencies wholly owned or part-owned by WPP rose 1% year on year to £3.17bn in 2018, according to figures from Nielsen. M/SIX (jointly owned by The & Partnership and WPP's Group M) and VCCP Media (20% owned by WPP) were included alongside 100%-owned MediaCom, Mindshare, Wavemaker, Essence and Kinetic.
If M/SIX and VCCP Media were excluded, WPP remained the top holding company by some way, spending £2.99bn for its clients in 2018, although that marks a marginal 0.5% decline year on year.
Omnicom was the next biggest holding company in the UK in 2018 when ranked by media agencies’ billings at £1.39bn, down 4.1%. Omnicom owns OMD UK, Manning Gottlieb OMD, PHD UK and Hearts & Science.