The merger between cable and broadband giant Comcast and NBC Universal with its terrestrial TV network, Universal Studios film business and theme parks has created one of the biggest players on the worldwide media stage.
Now the combined company is putting its US media business up for review, an account conservatively estimated at $1.2bn but actually likely to be worth much more than that as the various businesses come together and broadcasters, as Sky has realised in the UK, wake up to the potency of advertising to drive audiences towards premium broadcast programmes.
Media accounts, despite their booming billings, are a bit of a nightmare for agencies. Creative agencies find themselves second-guessed by broadcasters and journalists who think they can do their job better and media agencies are usually regarded as serfs whose job it is to get cheap prices and definitely not think.
At the moment Universal Studios is handled by Omnicom Group’s OMD and the bulk of Comcast’s spending is handled by Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest. OMD though also handles CBS, which is likely to be an issue in any shortlisting process.
With this kind of money to play with Comcast NBC will surely call on the big holding companies to put forward their best media offer.
It’s the year of big media reviews in the US with Gap going to Omnicom’s PHD, most of Disney to Aegis and Microsoft splitting its account between Interpublic’s Universal McCann and Publicis Groupe’s StarcomMediavest.
You’ve no doubt noticed an omission from this list – WPP.
Now here’s an opportunity for some media agency within WPP to make a famous CEO very happy.