WPP drives forward plans for media brand with US TV pact

WPP is taking its first major step towards establishing a single worldwide media buying network by pooling TV negotiations for its Ogilvy and Mather and J. Walter Thompson agencies in the US.

WPP is taking its first major step towards establishing a single

worldwide media buying network by pooling TV negotiations for its

Ogilvy and Mather and J. Walter Thompson agencies in the US.



JWT and O&M are understood to be preparing to test the viability of

joint TV buying by centralising advanced network TV airtime

negotiations this spring. The two agencies together spend dollars 1.3

billion on network TV, and the centralised pot would roughly equal the

size of the two biggest TV buyers in the US - Zenith Media and

Televest.



The majority of TV advertising commitments in the US are laid down on

an annual basis well in advance of the ads appearing on air. The

experiment with the spring negotiations could develop into a fully

fledged joint operation if successful.



However, there are some client conflict problems that still have to be

resolved, such as the clash between JWT’s Sprint Corp and O&M’s GTE

Corp.



Nevertheless, the plans represent the first tangible signal that WPP is

laying foundations for a global media network. WPP’s chief executive,

Martin Sorrell, has made no secret of his desire to pool the media

operations of his two international agencies to achieve critical

mass.



JWT and O&M have already established a joint media operation in Taiwan

and are said to be planning a similar venture in Canada. In the UK, the

Network - O&M’s media brand - is thought to remain sceptical of the

viability of combining with JWT’s media department.



Ron de Pear, JWT Europe’s media director, and the agency’s assistant

European media director, Tim Drysdale, are understood to have prepared

proposals for a joint European operation, and are said to be awaiting a

response from the Network.



No-one at either JWT or O&M in the US was prepared to comment as

Campaign went to press.



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