Billings falter as economy slows

The dotcom market implosion and the fall-off in spend by some of the biggest mainstream advertisers have slowed billings growth among Britain's creative and media agencies, according to AC Nielsen MMS's latest figures.

The dotcom market implosion and the fall-off in spend by some of the biggest mainstream advertisers have slowed billings growth among Britain's creative and media agencies, according to AC Nielsen MMS's latest figures.

The shake-out, which has sent many dotcoms to the wall, plus a brake on advertising activity by multinationals, have combined to limit the number of big billings surges.

Even the billings for Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the UK's biggest and most successful agency of recent years, have dropped by 1.68 per cent in the year to September as a result of a quiet spending period by BT, and because it was without the TV business of its Sainsbury's client for most of that time.

AMV's almost static performance has allowed its closest rival, BMP DDB, to steal a march on it. The agency's 11.45 per cent billings growth has been attributed mainly to a hefty increase in spend by its Vodafone client.

At the same time, Zenith, which maintains its place at the top of the media agency rankings, has recorded only a modest 3.93 per cent billings increase.

Nick Phillips, the IPA's director-general, said: 'The figures are partly because much of the gilt has come off the dotcom frenzy. But they are also a reflection of the fact that the economy isn't growing at quite the rate it was.'

The downbeat state of the market is being blamed partly on the downturn in activity by major players such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever - which may partly explain Initiative Media's 7.73 per cent billings drop - and by car manufacturers, whose advertising has tailed off since the price war erupted. This will have affected Western, whose 19.28 per cent decline in business will have much to do with its Vauxhall client.

'What we are seeing is a significant drop-off in conventional advertising categories,' Phil Georgiadis, a Walker Media partner, said.

'There will be much more volatility in the future as money from the big players becomes less bankable,' an industry insider said. 'Even in what has been a good revenue year for media owners, most of us are still experiencing only modest growth.'

Walker Media has emerged as one of the star performers in the latest figures, its 35.44 per cent billings growth having been fuelled by Dixons, which is spending heavily behind PC World.

BBJ's drop of 32.64 per cent is down to last year's loss of Volkswagen, although Peugeot-Citroen's arrival should allow it to bounce back.

Phillips warned against drawing too many conclusions. 'The broader range of activities offered by agencies, including direct marketing and customer relationship marketing, will not be reflected in the figures,' he said.



AGENCIES

Rank       Agency                    Billings     Billings  Year on year

00   99                           year ending  year ending      % change

                                      Sept 00      Sept 99

                                   (pounds m)   (pounds m)

1    1     AMV BBDO                    399.30       406.14         -1.68

2    3     BMP DDB                     320.70       287.75         11.45

3    6     J. Walter Thompson          284.64       266.04          6.99

4    4     McCann-Erickson             271.35       272.19         -0.30

5    7     Publicis                    256.05       241.10          6.19

6    8     M&C Saatchi                 243.88       227.11          7.38

7    5     Saatchi & Saatchi           234.99       270.31        -13.06

8    2     Lowe Lintas                 233.91       333.84        -29.93

9    10    Ogilvy & Mather             219.01       216.38          1.21

10   9     Rainey Kelly/Y&R            214.24       221.66         -3.34

11   11    TBWA/London                 205.66       213.62         -3.72

12   12    Bates UK                    199.51       185.69          7.43

13   15    D''Arcy                      195.11       169.21         15.30

14   16    Grey Advertising            172.45       160.64          7.35

15   14    Euro RSCG                   169.48       177.24         -4.37

16   13    WCRS                        164.05       177.60         -7.63

17   17    Bartle Bogle Hegarty        136.96       136.58          0.27

18   18    Leo Burnett                 131.54       127.92          2.82

19   19    HHCL & Partners             111.14        92.35         20.33

20   20    Banks Hoggins/FCB            95.34        85.48         11.53

21   24    St Luke''s                    84.87        49.03         73.09

22   25    Leagas Delaney               59.74        46.29         29.03

23   32    Roose & Partners             50.31        36.93         36.21

24   34    MWO                          48.90        30.99         57.78

25   23    Delaney Lund Knox Warren     46.65        51.03         -8.58

26   21    BDH TBWA                     42.93        64.38        -33.30

27   30    Golley Slater                42.36        38.38         10.37

28   22    Collett Dickenson Pearce     41.51        58.13        -28.57

29   27    WWAV Rapp Collins            40.17        41.09         -2.25

30   29    Partners BDDH                39.40        38.57          2.15

Source: AC Nielsen MMS.

MEDIA AGENCIES

Rank       Agency                    Billings     Billings  Year on year

00   99                           year ending  year ending      % change

                                      Sept 00      Sept 99

                                   (pounds m)   (pounds m)

1    1     Zenith Media                598.06       575.43          3.93

2    2     Carat                       536.72       504.28          6.43

3    6     MediaCom TMB                463.77       365.44         26.90

4    5     OMD UK                      421.75       367.13         14.87

5    4     MindShare                   406.76       379.38          7.21

6    3     Universal McCann            389.23       393.49         -1.08

7    7     Starcom Motive              383.52       346.24         10.76

8    9     New PHD                     317.19       316.76          0.13

9    8     Initiative Media            311.70       337.82         -7.73

10   10    MediaVest                   300.65       314.30         -4.34

11   14    Manning Gottlieb            239.30       195.11         22.64

12   11    CIA                         237.64       253.29         -6.17

13   12    Optimedia                   229.88       217.33          5.77

14   13    Media Planning              189.11       205.00         -7.75

15   17    Walker Media                163.99       121.08         35.44

16   16    Western                     135.20       167.50        -19.28

17   15    BBJ                         129.48       192.24        -32.64

18   19    MBS Group                    93.00        61.45         51.34

19   23    Brilliant                    69.12        42.23         63.66

20   20    Feather Brooksbank           67.11        51.10         31.33

21   26    BJK&E Media                  63.75        34.75         83.43

22   21    MediaVest Manchester         56.18        48.47         15.90

23   18    CDP Media                    52.47        76.95        -31.81

24   22    John Ayling & Associates     48.63        48.11          1.08

25   27    New PHD Compass              37.84        31.91         18.58

26   29    Booth Lockett Makin          37.38        30.21         23.72

27   24    Media Campaign Services      34.24        40.87        -16.22

28   24    WWAV Rapp Collins Media      30.29        38.94        -22.19

29   32    Total Media                  29.07        23.58         23.29

30   38    AMS Media Group              28.90        20.71         39.51

Source: AC Nielsen MMS.





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