In a move designed to streamline and simplify its media buying processes since its merger with NBC Universal (NSDQ: CMCSA), Comcast has split the company’s $1 billion-plus media buying and planning account between WPP Group and Publicis. The decision calls for NBC Universal’s business to go to Maxus, which is under WPP’s GroupM, while Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group will run Comcast’s cable business as well as its theme parks media buying.
Last year, the total media spending of the combined Comcast and NBCU unit was $1.43 billion, according to Kantar Media figures.
Comcast had originally hopes to have the media buying business under one shop’s umbrella, AdAge reported. But that proved to be untenable for the agencies, given that the various Comcast and NBCU properties involve a mix of studios, cable networks, local broadcast stations and theme parks.
The film studios represented a particular complication within Group M, as the WPP shop runs foreign media buying for Universal, while its sibling, MediaCom, has rival studio Warner Bros.’s account. In addition, MEC has Paramount and Mindshare has Summit. Several other agencies were also involved in various parts of the business as well. But dividing it between the two major media holding companies, Comcast can expect to get a better sense of how its media buying dollars are working.
Comcast was pretty demanding in its review, asking agencies to complete a 60-page request for proposals before being selected. Advising Comcast on the deal was Medialink CEO Michael Kassan, a media agency veteran who headed Interpublic Group’s Initiative Media for several years.