Starcom MediaVest Group is set to become the world's largest media network by the end of this year.
The network is expected to achieve global billings of $25.58 billion, according to the latest survey from Recma. This would see it leap from fourth place to first, mainly on the back of a projected 21 per cent billings rise in North and South America.
Starcom MediaVest is set to knock Omnicom's OMD off the top spot, despite OMD's projected 7.6 per cent billings growth.
Despite Starcom Media-Vest's strong performance, Publicis Groupe media agencies still remain some way behind Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP in the media group rankings.
WPP's Group M is expected to post 2006 billings of $60.5 billion, according to Recma, well ahead of Publicis Groupe Media's $44.87 billion. Omnicom Media Group is third, with projected global billings of $30.5 billion in 2006, a rise of 7.2 per cent.
However, the Publicis Groupe chairman, Maurice Levy, will be pleased that Publicis Groupe Media shows the fastest projected billings growth among the holding companies, with a 13.3 per cent rise on 2005.
In Europe, Publicis' ZenithOptimedia is projected to be the fastest-growing media network, with a billings rise of 17 per cent to $8.25 billion.
Carat is expected to maintain its position as the largest European network, with a 1 per cent rise in billings to $14.6 billion.
THE WORLD'S BIGGEST MEDIA NETWORKS
Rank Media network Holding company Activity billings
'06 '05 Projected Definitive
USdollars m USdollars m
1 4 Starcom SMG Publicis Groupe Media 25,580 21,781
2 1 OMD Omnicom Media Group 24,880 23,121
3 3 MindShare WPP/Group M 23,845 22,475
4 2 Carat Group Aegis Media 23,528 22,850
5 5 ZenithOptimedia Publicis Groupe Media 19,291 17,814
6 7 Mediaedge:cia WPP/Group M 18,751 16,510
7 6 MediaCom WPP/Group M 17,918 16,525
8 9 Universal McCann Interpublic 13,604 15,216
9 8 Initiative Interpublic 12,258 11,911
10 10 MPG Media Planning Havas 9,770 9,063
11 11 PHD Omnicom Media Group 5,640 5,355
Source: Recma 2006. The 11 networks handle 56.4% of the worldwide
activity billings estimated by Recma.