Media: Lifeline - Mediaedge:cia digital

CIA's digital arm has been through many guises in the ten years since its launch. 1994: Rising CIA star Rob Norman launches CIA Interactive - the first UK agency digital spin-off. Focusing mainly on tangibles such as corporate CD-Roms, CIA Interactive begins to expand steadily and is involved in TSB's attempts to create the first internet bank.

1996: CIA Group scores another first as it buys into the nuts and bolts of the internet with the acquisition of Good Technology, a web design agency. But, having worked on the high-profile Euro '96 website, Norman subsequently departs to work in sports marketing.

1998: Norman returns to launch Outrider for Tempus, the new group holding company for CIA's increasingly diverse new-media interests. Outrider is both an operating division - focusing on online media buying as well as search engine optimisation marketing - and an umbrella under which the Tempus Group's growing family of US and UK digital interests are grouped.

2002: As Tempus is acquired by WPP, the CIA family of media companies is merged with The Media Edge. Thus Outrider is brought together with The Digital Edge in all markets apart from the US, where both operations have sufficient scale and brand heritage to justify retaining them separately. Elsewhere, the new digital outfit, which reports to Mediaedge:cia, has a greater geographical consistency as a network.

2004: Mediaedge:cia merges its digital and direct divisions in Europe and poaches Jeff Hyams from Zed to head the as-yet-unnamed new entity. Hyams will also oversee the forging of closer links with Wunderman and OgilvyOne - sister direct agencies in the WPP Group.

Fast forward ...

2007: WPP's consolidated digital-direct network, now the group's most profitable media proposition, is given a clearer leadership role. It is now responsible for subsuming older divisions that still specialise in the planning and buying of archaic media such as broadcast spot advertising, TV sponsorship and press space. Having evolved an electronic trading system, it has already taken control of group negotiations with media owners.

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