Sega to split £60m pan-European media account

LONDON - Sega has decided against centralising its £60 million pan-European media account and will instead split the business between two agencies.

Initiative Media and Carat -- the only two agencies which pitched for the business -- will now share the task of launching the new games console, Sega Dreamcast, around Europe.

At the same time, M&C Saatchi is understood to have landed the non-advertising side of the launch campaign with a brief that encompasses sponsorship, promotions, business consultancy and everything beyond traditional above the line advertising.

WCRS will handle the advertising account, as first revealed in Campaign (5 March).

The media split reverses Sega's intention when it went into the pitches to seek a single media network to work on the European launch of Dreamcast.

Instead, Sega has decided to maintain decentralised media arrangements, with the business awarded on a country-by-country basis. Carat will handle the account in the UK and Spain, while Initiative has been given the business in France and Germany.

The UK account moves out of MediaCom TMB, which did not repitch for the business.

The launch of Dreamcast represents a major new push into the computer games market by Sega, which dominated the market in the early 90s, but has since lost ground to Sony PlayStation.

The agencies will work on how to position Dreamcast in the market, including examining the implications of offering internet access with the console.

Sony is making its own fresh assault on the market with the launch of Playstation 2 in the UK next year. But Sega is hoping to make the most of being first to market with its product, which launches in Europe this September.

Sega has run no major advertising since 1995, when McCann-Erickson launched its Saturn console. The launch of Dreamcast is being seen as a last-ditch attempt by the company to wrest back market share from Sony.

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