The trend for media consolidation is speeding up as top clients slash
the number of media buying points they use, according to in-house
monitoring by Lowe Howard-Spink’s media department.
Using Register-MEAL data, Lowes found that clients are employing fewer
media buyers than ever before. The findings revealed that the top 20
advertisers used an average of 2.8 buying points in 1990, but in 1994
that number had dropped to just 1.25.
Among the results for individual advertisers, Lowes found that BT has
slashed its agency roster from seven to two in four years, Nestle has
gone from five to one and Procter and Gamble’s Health and Beauty arm has
dropped five buying points, now making use of just one agency.
Mike Smallwood, media director at Lowes, said: ‘To get access to the top
table you need to be as large a player as possible. If you look at
almost any major industry, you see consolidation - airlines, ferries,
retailers, banking. Larger industries have seen they can improve
efficiencies in most respects.
‘The first phase of media consolidation was about volume savings. Now
it’s about how you exploit that consolidation and this will lead to more
emphasis on research studies and systems.’
John Blakemore, head of advertising at SmithKline Beecham, which is
itself in the middle of a UK consolidation process, said: ‘The trend
will continue, although I’m not sure how much more there can be. The
interesting thing for me is that there is still a very significant
number of media planners and buyers and that’s where we’re likely to see