ABC MOVES $70 MILLION MEDIA ACCOUNT TO WIEDEN

Third Network to Change Agencies as Promoting TV Schedules Gets Tougher

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) --Walt Disney Co.’s ABC is moving about $70 million worth of media billings to independent Wieden & Kennedy, New York, according to executives familiar with the situation.

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Omnicom Group’s OMD had handled ABC, but is now in the review for the media account of CBS Corp., according to an executive familiar with the matter.

Disney sibling ESPN
Wieden’s New York office will handle media planning and buying for ABC Television Network -- including entertainment, news, daytime and late-night programming -- and for the ABC Family Channel. The agency already handles media and some creative duties for the Disney-owned sports network ESPN.

The move, which comes without a review, ends a relationship that earned OMD creative plaudits, particularly for its help in launching the hit drama “Lost” last year. The campaign employed pirate-radio message, messages in bottles and missing-persons flyers to nab consumer attention for the show.

ABC, now in the midst of a prime-time resurgence, is the third TV network to rejigger its media relationship in the past year. NBC Universal split its $150 million account between Horizon Media and Fallon last year, and CBS recently placed its account into review.

Rapidly changing landscape
With the rapidly changing media landscape that finds the broadcast TV networks exploring everything from paid iPod downloads of their shows to video-on-demand programming, the rules of promoting a prime-time schedule to an audience are being rewritten hourly. ABC, having spent a considerable amount of its marketing resources to promote the Heather Graham vehicle “Emily’s Reasons Why Not,” only to pull it off the schedule when it failed to attract viewers, may be looking for some fresh thinking.

ABC Television Network spent about $55 million on measured media in 2004, while ABC Family Channel spent about $12.5 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The agencies did not return calls for comment.

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