Parent Sony Corp. began transitioning the mobile business in various regions from PHD to MediaCom as part of a global rollup following this year's review. But the client recently changed its mind about its mobile division in North America, according to executives familiar with the matter, and decided to award it to Carat, which already supports Sony PlayStation in the region.
A Sony spokesperson said in an email that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. Agencies mentioned in this article either referred comment to Sony or didn't respond to a request for comment.
While it's not immediately clear what sparked the regional shift so soon after the MediaCom selection, the consolidation at Carat of the PlayStation and mobile group is indicative of a larger shift toward mobile gaming as the company develops new versions of its mobile app.
The latest change does not affect the international mobile business that MediaCom won in June. Nor does it impact the portion of the Sony business that Interpublic's UM supports in North America.
Omnicom's PHD won the mobile business – then under the Sony Ericsson organization -- from WPP's MEC in summer 2011. The agency did not defend the account during the review this year, industry executives told Ad Age at the time. The review followed a restructuring in 2012 that moved the mobile group under the Sony Corp. umbrella.
In 2012, Sony Corp., including all of its subsidiaries, spent $725 million on measured media in the U.S., according to the Ad Age DataCenter. PlayStation spent $54 million on measured media in the U.S. And Sony Mobile Communications, the official U.S. subsidiary, spent $11 million on measured media in 2012, according to Kantar Media.