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WPP’s GroupM rules UK main media with 45 per cent

Campaign has produced its annual agency league tables along with Nielsen (they’re much the same as we said they would be last year) and the most interesting finding is the final market shares of the big holding company-owned media operations

group-m_0-280x186All the holding companies own gaggles of creative agencies too, of course, but these don’t hunt as packs. Media agencies do to a degree through their central buying points: WPP’s GroupM, Omnicom’s Opera, Aegis’ Amplifi and Publicis Group’s Vivaki. So these combined shares are important.

Of the £6.7bn of UK media (out of a total of about £10bn) that went through WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Group, Aegis, Interpublic and Havas, £3bn (45 per cent) was WPP, £1.2bn (18 per cent) Omnicom, £1bn (15 per cent) Aegis, £955m (14 per cent) Publicis, £360m Interpublic and £310m Havas (around five per cent each).

1 WPP 3.066
2 Omnicom 1.227
3 Dentsu Aegis 1.072
4 Publicis Groupe 955
5 Interpublic 361
6 Havas 310.

So WPP is almost completely dominant. Its market share drops to 30 per cent or so if you take all UK media into account but, on average, it will account for 45 per cent of the business going into the UK’s main media owners (nearly all clocked by Nielsen).

Which is a hell of a big market share. Things don’t stay the same in media any more than they do in other parts of adland and in 2015 WPP will have to do without the £140m or so of UK government media buying that went to Aegis-owned Carat. Publicis’ sagging media operation will be boosted by the buy of Walker Media (now known as 449 Blue if you please), newly-armed with the £50m Dixons account which also moved from WPP.

Which prompts a thought: maybe WPP is trying to lower its share to keep the competition authorities off its back. No, think we’ll reject that one. It’s still taking legal action against the Government for having the effrontery to move the media account.

WPP may bounce back with the £100m or so Tesco account. Its MediaCom agency is pitching against the incumbent, IPG-owned Initiative, and, possibly, ZenithOptimedia (Tesco is staying bizarrely schtum on the issue). Carat can’t pitch (or shouldn’t) because it handles Asda. Zenith may just be in there to make up the numbers although its sister agency BBH handles Tesco creative so maybe BBH CEO Neil Munn has put in a good word.

Tesco, it might be noted, accounts for about a third of IPG’s UK media billings (its other media agency is UM). Some drastic surgery will be required if Tesco goes somewhere else.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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