NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, has awarded its nearly $250 million regional media-planning and -buying business to MediaVest, without a review, bringing the total amount of business the Publicis Groupe-owned agency handles for the cable provider to roughly $500 million. MediaVest has served as Comcast's national corporate agency of record, managing its $250 million national media business since 2006.
The move to consolidate its traditional and digital media-planning and -buying activities with one agency, said Jenni Moyer, senior director-corporate communications at Comcast, was done to achieve greater cost efficiencies and to better serve its needs as it rapidly expands its footprint.
"This is really going to let us better leverage MediaVest's local and national expertise along with their scale and relevant experience to help create greater efficiencies while enabling innovative ways to communicate with consumers," she said. "Shifting to a centralized media buying and planning structure is a logical evolution for [Comcast] given the rapid growth that we have experienced over the last couple of years. We are in close to 40 of the top 50 [designated marketing areas]."Before bringing everything under the MediaVest umbrella, Ms. Moyer said, Comcast was working with about 18 different local media agencies across the country. She said the company will honor the commitments it still has with any of those agencies until they expire, and was unaware of when the last of those contracts would end. She said the consolidation and work by MediaVest on the local level started a few months back and will continue on a rolling basis.
"The local and regional guys did great work for us but we're looking at the big picture," Ms. Moyer said. "And as you expand and have a presence in more markets it makes more sense to look at things in a different way."
Like many cable and satellite providers Comcast has felt the sting of the recession with consumers opting out of pricy cable and satellite subscriptions for alternatives like broadband. The provider's growth for the fourth quarter of 2008 was half of what it was in the same period in '07, adding only 247,000 digital cable subscribers in the fourth quarter of last year compared to 530,000 in 2007. Telcos such as Verizon have also pushed their services to consumers aggressively in the markets they've entered, putting more competitive pressure on cable companies.
In total, Comcast currently has 24.2 million video subscribers, 14.9 million broadband customers and 6.5 million phone customers, making Comcast the country's fourth-largest phone company.
MediaVest would not comment and referred all calls to Comcast.