GWR reviews media account to centralise activity

LONDON - GWR, the radio group that owns Classic FM and 31 regional radio stations, is reviewing its media account with a view to centralising the brief into one agency.

The centralised account, worth an estimated £4m, will include all aspects of GWR's radio activity, including its range of branded Classic FM CDs and Classic FM promotions and events. The Classic FM record label has sold more than 1m CDs since launch.The review does not, however, include the recently launched spin-off Classic FM TV channel.

At present, the Classic FM account is held by Mediaedge:cia. Advertising and media for GWR's local stations -- including the regional franchises Chiltern FM and Wyvern FM -- is handled on an ad hoc basis.

"This is the first time we have reviewed our media planning and buying with a view to giving it structure and provide the best levels of service," a GWR spokeswoman said.

GWR's flagship Classic FM station is the UK's biggest commercial radio network and the latest Rajar figures reveal a 0.2% growth in listening share both year on year and quarter on quarter, to 4.7%.

Despite Classic FM's success, GWR has not been insulated from the advertising recession, and its most recent financial results have been disappointing.

In the six months up to September 2002, GWR's operating profits fell 24% on the same period the previous year to £5.8m. Classic FM's advertising revenues had grown by 6% but this was cancelled out by a 6% dip in revenues at GWR's local stations. As a result, GWR announced it would be abandoning its international ambitions.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.