Lions Gate Awards $130 Million Media Account to Initiative

Second Hollywood Loss for Incumbent Palisades Media Group

By Published on .

LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Lions Gate Films, after a three-month search, has handed its $130 million media-buying and -planning account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative. The business is exiting longtime agency Palisades Media Group, giving the shop its second Hollywood loss in a week. MGM dumped Palisades just days ago.
Lions Gate is one of Hollywood's few independent studios.
Lions Gate is one of Hollywood's few independent studios.

Outside consultants
Lions Gate executives hired outside consultants in June to study its options and began meeting with various media shops. Palisades had worked with Lions Gate for about seven years. The studio said the account will be handled by Alan Cohen, exec VP-managing director, Initiative, based in Los Angeles.

"We cast a broad net and spoke to dozens of agencies," said Tim Palen, co-president of theatrical marketing at the studio. "We're really excited about the fit between Lions Gate and Initiative and look forward to a lengthy relationship."

Still with Weinstein Co.
Palisades still shepherds the $150 million media-buying account for the Weinstein Co., the multimedia studio formed by Harvey and Bob Weinstein after they left the Walt Disney Co.'s Miramax. Palisades had a long-standing relationship with Miramax.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Palisades had won MGM's $100 million account in March only to be dumped in less than six months because of some executive shuffles at the studio. It handled only the August release of MGM's "Material Girls" starring Hilary and Haylie Duff.

MGM's newly named senior VP-media operations, Amy Gruberg, promptly took the business from Palisades and gave it to RPA, which will handle the upcoming period drama "Flyboys" and will work with Sony on the launch of the latest James Bond installment, "Casino Royale," in November. Ms. Gruberg previously had been at DreamWorks SKG.

Tinseltown media shakeup
Lions Gate and MGM aren't the only studios making changes in light of the rapidly evolving media landscape. News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox has put its $1 billion media business in review as it looks to consolidate most of its worldwide account at a single global agency. MindShare has handled the majority of Fox's buying for the account that, for the moment, remains up for grabs.

Lions Gate, home to such hit genre franchises as "Saw" and "Hostel" and spiritual-themed movies from writer/director/producer/actor Tyler Perry, is one of Hollywood's few remaining independents. Its currently promoting its upcoming comedy "Employee of the Month" with Dane Cook and Jessica Simpson and is ramping up for its Halloween release of "Saw III."
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