Agencies seemed to opt for differing models, some sticking to their stand-alone digital planning and buying units while others - notably Carat and Starcom - reorganised around integrated structures.
Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not given the pace of change in 2006, a few of the old guard in media agencies announced they would be bowing out - notably David Pattison, PHD's worldwide chief executive (who has resurfaced at the helm of i-level), and Nick Manning, the chief executive of OMD Group.
2006 was also the year that the media holding company group-trading structures moved on apace. WPP's Group M attracted headlines for apparently applying strong-arm tactics in the press and digital worlds. Yet, whatever the reality of its approach, there is no doubting its clout given that around 25 per cent of UK media spend is now controlled by its negotiators. Meanwhile, Omnicom ramped up the remit of its OPera negotiations arm, extending into online deals for its agencies.
Digital was also a key factor in some of the year's largest new-business pitches. Carat, Campaign's Media Agency and Media Network of the Year, landed the global Adidas/Reebok business on the back of strong input from its sister digital network, Isobar. The largest domestic pitch of 2006, Barclays, resulted in the business moving from Starcom UK to Walker Media and led to growth at the agency as it built its on- and offline offering.
The level of work being produced by media agencies was praised by Campaign's Media Awards jury, with notable activity that created a "wow factor" including Mediaedge:cia's Xerox work, which landed the Grand Prix gong, and OMD UK's Vodafone TBA campaign. However, in 2007, all agencies face the task of developing their services as digital becomes more prevalent and consumers take greater control of content.
How holding companies are measuring up
Share of media:
|Rank 2006||Rank 2005||Holding company||Billings 2006 (£m)||Billings 2005 (£m)||% change|