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Advertisers are generally satisfied with their agencies' media services-particularly media planning. But if their agencies are having a difficult time servicing the advertisers' media, the marketers would prefer to select an outside media service themselves.

That's the conclusion of a survey of about two dozen advertisers done in February by Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York.

"The impetus for the study was the Four A's meeting where we were going to talk about the future of agency media departments like mine," said Steve Farella, exec VP-director of media services of Jordan McGrath, referring to the American Association of Advertising Agencies' recent Agency Media Services Today & Tomorrow conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

"There was a concern that some agencies are spinning off subgroups to their media departments that may be in the best interest of the agency but not necessarily in the best interest of their clients," Mr. Farella said.

Mr. Farella acknowledged the study, conducted by written questionnaires, is not scientific but said it nonetheless provides insights into how advertisers feel.

"Half the clients in our survey believe the agencies in their roster actually improved media service over the past five years," he said. "And when we prompted them on where that improvement came from, 75% said it came from the media planning department. ... [That] says clients want smart, strategic-thinking media departments, not just cost-efficient media buys."

However, Mr. Farella said the survey also found 28% of respondents felt it wasn't necessary to consolidate media planning and buying at the same agency.

When prompted, Mr. Farella said, the respondents replied: "It is OK if their ad agency can't handle their media buys and needs the help of an outside media resource, but the client would much rather be the one to select the outside vendor."

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