Aegis plans second media network

Aegis is planning to launch a second-string media network to operate alongside Carat.

Vizeum, which will bring together all of Aegis' local media operations that are branded separately from Carat, is expected to launch in the third quarter. BBJ Communications, Aegis' second media agency in the UK, will become part of Vizeum.

The new network will be headed by Eric Drancourt, currently the chairman of Carat International, who will become the chief executive. Martyn Rattle, the vice-president of Carat International, will become the chief operating officer.

Vizeum will be headquartered in London and will begin as a European operation, to be developed globally. In some markets, it will launch agencies to become part of Vizeum.

Aegis has created a holding company, Aegis Media, which will have responsibility for Carat and Vizeum. It will provide economies by supplying shared services such as media negotiation, IT and finance. Mark Craze, Carat's UK chief executive, will additionally take the role of Aegis Media UK's chief executive.

The launch of Vizeum was announced alongside Aegis' increase in group revenues of 11.9 per cent to £591.9 million for 2002. Carat increased billings by 10 per cent, and revenues by 10.6 per cent to £80.5 million.

Doug Flynn, the chief executive of Aegis Group, said: "Aegis has always benefited from the strong national agencies outside the current network. These will now be brought together to form a cohesive network that will offer clients a consistent international approach."