Optimedia, Prakit Publicis form joint venture in Thailand

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BANGKOK -- Prakit Publicis Co has formed an alliance with London-based media network Optimedia International to establish a media buying joint venture.

Prakit Publicis' Chairman Prakit Apisarnthanarax says the two firms will form Optimedia (Thailand) within two years.

The alliance follows last February's 50:50 joint venture between Prakit & FCB Public Co and the Paris-based Publicis Group. Optimedia is a Publicis Group subsidiary. It's Publicis' policy to open media houses in every country in which it operates.

The new media alliance is aimed at providing full media solutions to Prakit Publicis' clients, including media planning and buying. "Having a media house will also increase our bargaining power with the media," says Mr. Prakit.

Optimedia software is expected to help increase understanding of consumer behavior and sharpen the targeting of customer groups.

Mr. Prakit says Thai advertising agencies may not need separate media houses at the moment, but that they may be essential once the economy improves and competition intensifies.

Prakit Publicis' billings were down by 20% in the first half of 1998. "This is the worst situation since I entered the business 30 years ago," Mr. Prakit says.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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