Omnicom plans global media operation

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LONDON -- Omnicom, the world's second biggest advertising organization, is planning to bundle its media operations across the globe to gain maximum buying power.

The New York-based group, which owns four major agency units - BBDO Worldwide, DDB Needham Worldwide, TBWA International and DAS (Diversified Agency Services) - is expected to announce details within the next three or four months. The move was first foreshadowed in the Daily World Wire in November 1995.

In preparation, TBWA International last week announced that it would not be renewing its contract with media independent Carat International to service its clients in Europe. In 1991, TBWA and Carat set up a media venture, branded Eurospace, through which Carat provides the media function exclusively for TBWA International clients across France, the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Belgium. The notice period on the deal will run for the next six months.

TBWA International President Alisdair Ritchie claims there's "no question of any bad feeling" between his agency and Carat. But the two networks will be pitched into fierce confrontation over the $200m worth of media business that Eurospace handles.

Says Brian Jacobs, Carat International's managing director: "[The split] is clearly disappointing but it is neither surprising nor particularly worrying. Our main concern is to make sure clients are properly serviced." Some Eurospace clients have direct media contracts with Carat, but Jacobs says he is unable to specify how many.

Ritchie says Omnicom's new media plan will suit the $3bn-billing agency's ambitions very well. "It really is a global plan, which Carat [being European] could never offer. Omnicom realized it is time to leverage its size and see what it can do with it," he says.

Omnicom is continuing to snap up media independents around the world. Most recently, it bought GMSO in Germany.

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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