ABC Television Is About to Pick a Digital Specialist for Its Online Media Buying

Moving away from general Wieden account

The ABC television network is searching for an agency to plan and buy its digital media, motivated by a desire for digital specialists, according to sources. Digital planning and buying is currently handled as part of its general media account.

Executives at ABC "feel that they need an agency with better digital chops and somebody who can be really close to their Burbank headquarters," explained a source. "Digital media is obviously incredibly important. It changes at the speed of light. And it's just an important part of their arsenal, and they want to make sure they have best-in-class" resources.

The search is in its final stages, with three contenders awaiting a selection. Sources identified the shops as Horizon Media, Razorfish and Mediahub. Annual media spending on the assignment is estimated at $40 million.

The business is currently part of Wieden + Kennedy's larger Disney media account, which also includes ABC Entertainment. Wieden is not defending.

Key decision-makers include svp of marketing strategy Darren Schillace and Ben Blatt, executive director of digital strategy.

The finalists made presentations at ABC's offices in Los Angeles last week and now await a decision, which could come as soon as this week, sources said. The agencies declined to comment, and ABC did not return calls. 

ABC is among more than 20 marketers launching media reviews since November and the third media company—the other two are 21st Century Fox and STX Entertainment. Collectively, 21st Century Fox, STX and ABC spend about $1.39 billion in media annually.