CAMPAIGN REPORT ON NEW MEDIA: A time to measure new-media shops Last year saw many of the UK’s leading agencies consolidate their internet offerings. Gordon MacMillan introduces Campaign’s new definitive guide to the fledgling industry.

This is definitely the start of something. It might seem odd to say that at this stage, when we are three or four years into the new- media revolution but, from an agency’s perspective, 1999 - and the latter half of the year in particular - was of great significance. The new-media agency picture finally came into focus, making now the right time for Campaign to launch this report on the top players.

This is definitely the start of something. It might seem odd to say

that at this stage, when we are three or four years into the new- media

revolution but, from an agency’s perspective, 1999 - and the latter half

of the year in particular - was of great significance. The new-media

agency picture finally came into focus, making now the right time for

Campaign to launch this report on the top players.



Last year was all about mergers and acquisitions and the formation of

new international networks. We also saw a clearer definition emerge of

what it is that new-media agencies or consultancies do.



In the past year, we have witnessed the trend for agencies to converge

their new-media offerings and position themselves as one-stop shops or

full-service agencies. This allowed them to offer everything from a

strategic consulting service, through online media planning and buying,

to website development, design and building. It might be that some of

these elements are outsourced, but the key factor is that these

companies are marketing themselves as able to provide a complete

new-media community package.



Internationally, we saw the Interpublic Group bring all of its new-media

assets together as Zentropy (what was APL Digital and Shandwick

Interactive in the UK). Interpublic was followed by the likes of

Cordiant - which formed CCG.XM out of its international new-media

operations and rebranded Bates Interactive in the UK- and Snyder, which

created Circle.com from Brann Interactive in Bristol and London.



In the US, three of the larger global players - Agency.com, Organic and

Razorfish - all filed for their initial public offerings. On this side

of the Atlantic, many agencies grew apace and, at the same time, some of

the smaller shops were snapped up by their larger rivals, changing the

landscape further. For example, Szyzgy went international and Ogilvy

Interactive purchased Noho Digital.



This consolidation in the market clearly influenced the timing of this

report. Like Campaign’s top 300 agency report, the top new-media

agencies league is to be an annual feature and one that will undoubtedly

become a useful barometer for the industry.The report is being launched

not just at an important time for the industry but at an important time

for Campaign too. It coincides with the launch of a new three-page

weekly section in Campaign that focuses on the new-media industry.



The league is a guide to some of the biggest and most important UK

new-media agencies and where they sit in relation to their rivals.



The report includes a profile section that highlights 20 agencies in

detail, analysing their new-business record and taking a glance at how

they may perform in the future. The shops that fall under the spotlight

will not necessarily be the biggest in the industry but will be among

the most high-profile players. There are a number of notable new-media

agencies that were unable or unwilling to provide UK income and so are

not in the ranking. These include Modem Media, Agency.com, IXL, March

First, Circle.com and Icon Medialab.



Aside from the strategic and creative agencies, this report also takes a

look at the new-media buying specialists such as Media21, Profero and

i-level, which recently recruited the advertising big hitter John Bartle

as its chairman. It is worth separating these shops from the new-media

creative agencies to reflect the fact that they have formed their own

new-media community already.



We must not forget the new-media technology, however. This is a

technology-enabled business and, with the UK at the centre of the

European digital boom, this is reflected in the strength of the UK

new-media agency sector. Wireless application protocol, digital and

interactive television have all become integral parts of the new-media

agency lexicon in the past 12 months. These are areas where UK

businesses are strong and, consequently, UK agencies have excelled in

becoming among the first to launch mobile and WAP units. Clearly, there

is much to celebrate.



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