The Agencies Weigh In on the Web




Internet Becomes a Focal Point at Annual Media Conference
NEW YORK-Be it ad spending, agency holdings, new clients or new investments, talk of dot.coms and the Internet were front and center at last week’s annual PaineWebber media conference.
On Friday, Interpublic Group of Cos. announced the re-branding of its interactive holdings under a single name: Zentropy Partners. Its newly minted CEO, John Connors III (Jack Connors’ son), explained how the entity would function separately from IPG’s shops.
Omnicom, meanwhile, boasted of its stable of interactive holdings-including Agency.com, which went public on Tuesday, starting at $26 a share and rising to $76, before closing Friday at $62. “We’ve had a good week so far,” deadpanned CEO John Wren.
Not to be outdone, WPP Group plc noted that one of its clients-IBM-is the largest buyer of Internet banner ads.
Seemingly less bullish about the Web was Saatchi & Saatchi plc, focusing instead on its traditional business with Procter & Gamble and Toyota.
Earlier in the week, media forecasters projected steady growth in ad spending for next year. The good news: Both Robert Coen, senior vice president and forecasting director at Universal McCann, and Zenith Media CEO John Perriss said U.S. and global spending would rise.
Coen projected an 8.3 percent increase in the U.S., from an estimated $215 billion to an estimated $233 billion, while Perriss predicted a 6.9 percent jump, from $130 billion to $139 billion.
Coen attributed the projected growth to advertising in an election year, millennium marketing and the upcoming Summer Olympics. Perriss cited the same factors but added the influence of-you guessed it-“new media companies.”-with Richard Linnett and Jack Feuer
_______________________________________________
Numbers Game: Other Facts and Figures
€Toyota represents 18 percent of Saatchi & Saatchi plc’s worldwide revenue, topping Procter & Gamble, which amounts to about 14 percent. That means roughly a third of the network’s revenue (32 percent) comes from two clients.
€Roughly 54 percent of Omnicom’s annual revenue comes from North America, 40 percent from Europe and 6 percent from Asia, Australia and Latin America, said CEO John Wren. Nearly half of that revenue-48 percent-is generated by general advertising and media operations. Other marketing services account for the remainder: PR and direct marketing (15 percent each), sales promotion (11 percent) and specialty communications (11 percent).
€The dot.com business at IPG represents capitalized annual billings of $1 billion, according to CEO Phil Geier. That is slightly less than what Ford Motor spent on ad media last year ($1.1 billion), according to Competitive Media Reporting.
€About 42 percent of WPP Group plc’s shareholders live in the United Kingdom, while 41 percent live in the U.S., said Andrew Hall, WPP’s executive vice president, corporate development. -A.M.