Half top-ten UK shops see MMS billings slide

Five of the UK's top ten advertising agencies saw a fall in their

billings in the past year, with J. Walter Thompson the hardest hit,

according to figures from AC Nielsen MMS.



Billings for Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the number-one agency, fell by

3.36 per cent to £385.86 million. JWT, the number-three shop,

dropped by 12.76 per cent to £248.31 million.



M&C Saatchi, which overtook Saatchi & Saatchi for the first time last

year, slipped back to eighth place following a 9.9 per cent fall in

billings.



Saatchi & Saatchi climbed to number six.



Lowe Lintas shot from sixth to second with an increase in billings of

7.7 per cent, mainly attributable to its Orange win last year. Ogilvy &

Mather climbed four places to number five, as it enjoyed its reunion

with Ford UK.



Chris Thomas, the chief executive of Lowe Lintas, said: "This is a

reflection of our good performance both in terms of new business and

organic growth from existing clients."



Total billings for the top 30 agencies fell by 7 per cent to £4.34

billion for the year to September. Last year's billings were £4.66

billion.



The biggest declines were from BMP DDB, which lost 37 per cent of its

billings after it shed the Vodafone account, and Leagas Delaney, down 38

per cent.



Among media agencies, Zenith loses the number-one slot for the first

time since its launch in 1989. Carat's billings increased by 6.42 per

cent after wins last year such as Renault. MediaCom was the biggest

riser in the top ten, up 17 per cent. OMD fell from fourth to seventh

place.



Initiative moves into the top five after its merger with Western.



BBJ saw the biggest increase with a 64 per cent rise on the back of wins

including PSA and Coca-Cola. Optimedia posted a 32 per cent fall after

losing Renault. Universal McCann fell three places to number ten after a

28 per cent fall in billings.



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