PARAMOUNT PICKS TELEVEST TO BUY $60 MIL IN SPOT TV: WIN PROPELS MACMANUS UNIT IN LOCAL BUYS OF COMMERCIAL TIME

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TeleVest, New York, has quietly snared Paramount Pictures' $60 million spot TV-buying account from Media Edge, New York.

Paramount is the first major spot-only account win for TeleVest since the company added spot TV buying to its portfolio last year and solidifies the position of TeleVest as the country's largest national TV buyer.

Neither Paramount, which spent $60 million on spot TV in 1997 according to Competitive Media Reporting, nor TeleVest would comment.

SPOT UNIT RELATIVELY NEW

TeleVest has had Paramount's $100 million-plus national TV buying account since November 1996, about the same time Media Edge got the spot-buying work. At the time, TeleVest did not have a unit to handle buys made on local TV stations, which usually are more capital-intensive than national TV buying.

TeleVest was forced to incorporate the spot-buying unit of sister MacManus Group shop D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles as a condition of the $1 billion Procter & Gamble Co. consolidated media account pitch the company won last year.

NEW YORK HANDLES SPOT BUYS

TeleVest handles spot buying out of a 75-person office in New York, under the direction of Maribeth Papuga, senior VP-director of local broadcast operations.

The Paramount win comes as most media executives with an interest in Hollywood were focusing on the $85 million DreamWorks SKG account, now up for grabs, and was done in typical TeleVest style: very quietly with no formal review.

"TeleVest's preferred way to do business is to target certain accounts and then go after them, and not play the review game," said a media executive at a rival shop. "Sometimes, like with Procter & Gamble, they are forced to participate in a very public review, but it's not something they like to do."

TeleVest won the $125 million J.C. Penney Co. media account early last year with no formal review, and some media buyers say TeleVest is now targeting buying for Microsoft Corp.'s $220 million U.S. account, now handled by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco.

MICROSOFT NOT INTERESTED

Bob Herbold, Microsoft's exec VP-chief operating officer and a former P&G executive, said P&G agencies including MacManus' TeleVest, Leo Burnett USA and Grey Advertising periodically make overtures to Microsoft. But he said the company is pleased with its roster agencies' media work and has no interest in discussing a shift.

Contributing: Bradley Johnson.

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