MediaCom Digital will consult with clients and strategically plan cross-media campaigns, which can include any combination of TV, print, narrowband Internet media and broadband digital media, such as targeted cable TV.
Alec Gerster, chairman of MediaCom Worldwide, New York, is convinced of the new division's viability.
"I'm betting that there is a significant enough demand for this in the marketplace that will justify us having MediaCom Digital out there as a marketplace offering," Mr. Gerster said.
"There are few other companies out there-if any-that have the online and offline capabilities that we have. I think it will position us fairly well in the market," he said.
The new division will tap MediaCom resources, including its Internet media buying company, media.com, a subsidiary of MediaCom Worldwide, and MediaCom's traditional media resources, such as direct-response and retail co-op planning services.
SIX CLIENTS ON BOARD
Six advertisers have signed on for consulting services through MediaCom Digital, Mr. Goldhersz said.
Initial clients include Autobytel.com, Procter & Gamble Co., Sprint Corp. and Kraft Foods.
MediaCom Digital will help Kraft integrate a buy on a high-speed cable access service with its traditional TV ad buys.
Autobytel.com, a client of both Grey Advertising and Grey Interactive, will rely on MediaCom Digital to integrate its two campaigns.
Harvey Goldhersz, former senior VP-strategic planning for MediaCom, has been named president of MediaCom Digital.
"My role will be to work across different platforms depending on what clients need," Mr. Goldhersz said.
He said MediaCom Digital will enhance existing Grey resources. The division will serve both new clients and existing clients of Grey Advertising, Grey Interactive and MediaCom.
"Many [clients] will have started operating in the traditional world-TV, print-and know they should be doing something online and are looking to play with a broader toolbox," Mr. Goldhersz said of advertisers "who decide to expand their media mix."
Another source of clients will be advertisers already running both traditional media and interactive campaigns, developed either by outside agencies or Grey, but who need advice about integrating the components, he said.
The impetus behind MediaCom Digital's conception has been industry demand, Mr. Goldhersz said.
"Over the last four or five months I have seen a big tidal wave of demand from clients wanting us to provide the integration [of traditional, interactive and broadband media] rather than doing it in-house and managing the integration on their own."
POSITIONED FOR GROWTH
MediaCom Digital also is well-positioned for the expected growth of broadband digital media, Mr. Gerster said, noting MediaCom has already worked with Tele-Communications Inc. and other cable Internet access providers.
"Long term, you are going to need this approach to deal with the broadband digital environment of the future."
MediaCom isn't the only agency integrating its services.
In January Starcom Media Services set up a unit called Starcom IP that buys Internet space. Other major agencies have said they're looking to expand their