CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: ISSUE - CONSOLIDATED SELLING. Major media groups line up to devise global packages for key multinational advertisers. Cross-border media owners are now able to offer a huge range of ad options, Harriet Green reports

We’ve talked about it for a decade, but still nothing seems to happen.

We’ve talked about it for a decade, but still nothing seems to

happen.



For ten years the industry has entertained itself with visions of

global, one-stop deals, but there’s been little evidence of progress

since Mars tied up a global contract with Rupert Murdoch’s various

holdings in the early 90s.



As we enter a new millennium, perhaps advertisers and agencies will

finally attain the dream. The signs are encouraging. In December, Time

Warner, arguably the most credible global proposition, put together a

unifying editorial idea across its various interests - CNN

International, CNN Interactive, Time and Fortune - called ’Visions of

Europe’. Its reach was not global, but it was significant because, for

the first time, Time Warner grouped its assets into one tempting

editorial package. Already five major global advertisers have signed up,

including BMW and Oracle.



Everybody involved insists this has been a great success, and work has

started on the next series, to run on CNN and Time in Latin America.

’Leaders for the New Millennium’ will profile 50 faces to watch across

that continent.



Time Warner has also completed deals for clients such as Cathay Pacific

and Volvo, through its centralised Turner Marketing Solutions Group,

which was set up three years ago.



Not to be left out, News Corporation formed its own equivalent, News

Corp One, in April 1998. Kayne Lanahan, head of the division, promised

at the time: ’Our division offers one-shop shopping, developing customer

solutions that leverage News Corp’s global and local properties.’



Mergers and new technology now enable multinational media owners to

offer advertisers a mind-blowing menu of media options. They no longer

rely entirely on content as they also frequently own distribution

channels, TV rights, global brands and even sports events and stadiums.

Time Warner, for example, merged with Turner Broadcasting Systems in

1996 to create a company offering television, cable, satellite, film,

music and print.



Disney bought Capital Cities/ABC in July 1995 for dollars 19 billion.

Meanwhile, News Corp has become the largest TV network in the world

following its link-up with the entertainment group, MCA, and the

acquisition in 1993 of a majority stake in the Asian Star TV network. On

top of that, this year News Corp bought a stake in a Los Angeles sports

arena as well as shares in the major basketball and hockey teams. And in

the UK, controversially, it’s after Manchester United.



News Corp One could, for example, attach an advertiser to a global News

Corp brand such as The Simpsons, Titanic or even Ryan Giggs, then carry

the advertiser’s message through the widest possible range of treatments

from TV to film, from sport sponsorship to in-store promotions.



True global deals are not just about price. They’re about creating

strategic alliances between media owners and advertisers. ’We are not

looking to give discounts,’ says David Levi, president of Turner

Broadcasting International.



’This is a way to help build brands and marketing platforms.’

Advertisers, he insists, are not shoehorned into deals: ’It has to be a

win/win situation.



Everybody is looking for ways to team up with strong partners and strong

brands.’



News Corp’s Lanahan believes many clients can benefit: ’It’s not

necessarily just big global multinational companies. Lots of clients in

the new categories like telecoms and computers have very quickly moved

into the global marketplace.’ But before we get carried away, a sceptic

might ask: why aren’t we seeing more completed deals? News Corp One has

yet to announce a single global advertiser to embrace its consolidated

sell. Lanahan insists that three such deals have already been tied up

but regrets she can’t talk about them.



John Perriss, the Zenith Media Worldwide chairman, remains cynical. ’I

would be amazed if this was a significant piece of our business in ten

years’ time. If you look at the three sides of the industry, clients

have been globalising for a number of years and ad agencies followed.

The media companies’ response has been woefully inadequate. Even Time

Warner doesn’t have truly global properties. It has huge strength in the

US and a bit of presence elsewhere.’



Perriss’s harshest words are for News Corp One. ’It’s a ragbag,’ he

says.



’We are the biggest media buying agency in China, the fourth in the US

and number one in the UK and yet I have never seen anyone from News Corp

One. I’ve not had one mailing from them, and no-one has called.’



But Nick Emery, strategic development director of WPP’s MindShare,

defends News Corp. ’We are talking to News Corp about seven deals. That

probably means two or three will come off.’



But global deals take a lot of time, and they’re strewn with

pitfalls.



Turner’s Levi explains: ’The average time it takes to put a deal

together is six months to a year.’ Despite the problems, conditions

couldn’t be better for global deals. But unless the likes of News Corp

come up with something concrete soon, we may begin to lose faith.





World music and media companies ranking by media turnover (dollars m)

Company                 Total     Media      % Change  Operations

                        turnover* turnover*  from

                        1997/98              1996/97

Time Warner (US)        24,600    24,600     18.0      TV, C, S, F, M, P

Walt Disney / ABC (US)  22,500    17,220     20.0      F, TV, R

Sony (Japan)            51,177    15,101     41.0      F, M, E

Bertelsmann (Germany)   15,000    15,000     15.0      P, M, TV, R, S, F

News Corp (Australia)   14,355    14,355     31.0      P, F, TV, S, C

Notes: *Most recent year’s figures published by company;

Operations key: TV -Television; R - Radio; S - Satellite; C - Cable;

M-Music; F -Film; P - Print; E -Electronic

Source: MTI Music and Media Companies Report 1999.



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