Starcom set to take £30m BT account from TAP

LONDON - BT is shifting its £30m TV buying account out of The Allmond Partnership and into Starcom MediaVest, in a move that leaves the future of TAP in doubt.

The move comes just one week after Weetabix decided to shift its £9m media account out of the media independent and into Walker Media. It leaves TAP without any major clients -- its others, Yell and O2, departed the agency shortly after they were demerged from BT.

Starcom Mediavest has picked up BT's TV buying business without a pitch -- the move consolidates its grip on the account. The agency has picked up BT's media buying business by stealth: it won the £23m press buying from Zenith Media in November 2002 and the £7.5m radio buying business from ZenithOptimedia in January this year. PHD handles BT's centralised media planning.

TAP launched in December 1997 when Nigel Allmond, the former director in charge of BT at The Negotiation Centre, set up his own agency with the intention of winning BT's TV buying. The account followed him out of TNC and into TAP the following June.

No one at Starcom MediaVest, TAP or BT was available for comment.

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