TELEVEST ABSORBS SPOT TV BUYING UNIT OF DMB&B: MOVE TO KEEP MACMANUS UNIT IN P&G REVIEW

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The spot TV unit of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, with billings of $250 million to $300 million, has been folded into TeleVest, a sister MacManus Group division.

The timing of the move is believed to be tied to the $1 billion review for Procter & Gamble Co.'s consolidated TV buying business. P&G's $200 million in spot billings is part of the review, and insiders said the client wants the winner to put management responsibility of all its TV buying under a single entity.

TeleVest, a participant in the review, already handles most of P&G's national TV buying.

New York-based TeleVest is the nation's largest buyer of network TV ad time, purchasing more than $1 billion annually. The DMB&B unit ranked No. 13 in spot spending last year, according to an annual Advertising Age survey.

TeleVest President-CEO Irwin Gotlieb confirmed the move but declined further comment.

ALLOWS MORE FLEXIBILITY

The P&G pitch may explain the timing of the move, but there are other reasons behind it. It allows more flexibility in buying, for example, and allows better coordination when it comes to buying unwired networks.

Maribeth Papuga, DMB&B's senior VP-director of local broadcast operations, will head up TeleVest's new spot division. Sharron Lalick, a planning expert who was in charge of DMB&B's spot unit, recently joined the agency's planning unit for Coca-Cola Co.

If putting together spot and national TV under one roof makes so much sense, the question is why MacManus didn't make the move earlier. The answer appears to be twofold, said executives close to the company.

PREVIOUS IMPEDIMENTS

One reason is various policy differences between certain TeleVest and DMB&B executives. The other is financial: A spot TV operation is much more capital intensive than a national TV one, and TeleVest never wanted to be saddled with the added expense.

However, TeleVest is known to be efficiently run, and the spot operation isn't expected to add a major burden in the long term.

P&G is expected to pick a winner for its consolidated account in October. Besides TeleVest, contenders include Zenith Media, Grey Advertising and Chicago-

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