UIP calls £37m planning and buying review

United International Pictures is reviewing its £37 million UK media planning and buying business as Universal Pictures and Paramount prepare to demerge in January.

Media sources said the review will initially be limited to the UK, but could be extended on a market-by-market basis to other territories.

The UK business is handled by ZenithOptimedia, which won the account three years ago from Mediaedge:cia.

UIP announced in September it was to break up its joint film distribution company, with Universal Pictures and Paramount run as separate, wholly owned international distribution networks.

Starting in 2007, Paramount and Universal will each release their own films in 15 countries. In the remaining territories around the world, the two studios will continue to operate as UIP.

The move reflects the growing importance of the overseas market, which is outstripping growth in the US. UIP's joint venture was set up to share the burden of resources between Universal and Paramount.

Paramount will operate in Australia, Brazil, France, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK, while Universal will operate in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.

UIP did not return calls and ZenithOptimedia declined to comment.