Zenith loses grip on media billings table after 13 years at top

Zenith Media has slipped from the number one position on the AC

Nielsen MMS media billings league for the first time in the agency's

history.



Figures for August 2000 to July 2001, released this week, show that

Zenith has been overtaken by Carat, which takes the top spot with

billings of £552.1 million. Zenith's £548 million billings

see it drop to second with a 6.1 per cent market share, compared with

Carat's 6.2 per cent.



However, figures recorded by MMS since July are expected to show Zenith

clawing back the number one slot.



The narrowing of the contest reflects the contrasting fortunes of the

agencies in 2000, when Carat grabbed a number of high-spending

automobile accounts, including BMW, whose European business was

centralised into the agency from Zenith.



In addition, Zenith saw the Bristol Myers-Squibb business centralised

into Starcom MediaVest while Hewlett-Packard's £100 million global

account went to Optimedia.



Carat's position will not be affected by its split from Peugeot Citroen,

since the £75 million account was allocated to BBJ in the

table.



Simon Marquis, Zenith's managing director, said: "We've never made being

number one our sole proposition. Being big is certainly part of it but

being highly skilled in planning and buying is more important."



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