Fox executives, looking to streamline their marketing communications, have said they want to consolidate most of the divisions' worldwide business at a single agency. The media firms will present their plans to Fox in the coming weeks, and a decision is expected by year's end.
WPP's MindShare handles much of the account in the U.S. and Canada, including national-cable, local-TV and radio buying. Executives there have said they will defend the account. Allied, Fox's newspaper-buying agency, will not be affected.
The review is being handled by Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., noteworthy because studios rarely turn to outside consultants for help finding media agencies.
It's also indicative of a trend in Hollywood, where several major studios have put their media accounts into review lately as they grapple with the quickly changing media landscape. Studios, like other marketers, are shifting money from traditional to alternative media and are increasingly looking for nimble agencies to help them reallocate their money effectively.
Lions Gate Entertainment, one of the few remaining independent studios, recently handed its $130 million-plus account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative after a three-month search. It was the second big loss for Palisades Media Group, which won MGM in March and was out by summer. Looking to compete with its much larger rivals, MGM named independent RPA the media-buying agency, with some planning duties, for its $100 million account. The change came after some executive shuffling at the studio.
Fox Filmed Entertainment, home to recent hits "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "The Devil Wears Prada," has a number of high-profile movies hitting screens before the end of the year, including "Borat," the Sasha Baron Cohen comedy that's had the festival circuit all abuzz; hopeful franchise starter "Eragon," a book-based fantasy film; and CGI-laden "Night at the Museum." Next year's slate includes the first movie based on long-running TV hit "The Simpsons"; a "Fantastic Four" sequel; and "Live Free or Die Hard," the fourth of the successful "Die Hard" action movies.