The US: Special Report

The first thing any visitor to America notices is its size. Big buildings, big cars and big people with big personalities.

So it is surprising to discover that America's super-sized agencies have not been having a better time of it lately. This is a story so, well, big that USA Today, America's best-selling newspaper, ran a feature on the successes of a precocious "little" shop called StrawberryFrog a fortnight ago. Here is a company, the paper noted, that has a mere 100 employees in two cities, and yet it is competing with behemoths staffed by thousands.

Ann Cooper investigates how this is happening in a country fixated by size (page 32).

Still on the size theme, what is it like to work at a genuine advertising giant? Mark Tungate discovers a world where creatives record music, edit film and shoot packaging in a building so big they communicate via webcam when shuttling between floors (page 35). He also asks Brit abroad Murray Dudgeon, Universal McCann's chief operating officer, whether New York or London is a better place to work.

A lot has been made of the decline of network TV across the pond and, looking at the facts, the hysteria is arguably justified. The legendary "upfront" - the world's largest TV buying bonanza - lost an eye-watering $200 million of airtime trade this summer, while America's largest TV network, NBC, is projected to lose up to $1 billion in advertising revenue by the end of the year.

The ways in which America's broadcasting giants are confronting their problems offer the UK's TV companies an interesting lesson on how they should - or, perhaps, should not - behave in the digital era (opposite).

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