Sony Kicks Off European Tour Of Media Shops

LOS ANGELES — The usual suspects are lining up to compete in Sony Corp.’s estimated $300 million European media review, sources said last week.

The search is the third regional consolidation contest the entertainment giant has conducted in the past year, all of which have included some or all of the same group of the world’s top media networks.

Omnicom’s OMD, Bcom3’s Starcom Motive, and Publicis Groupe and Cordiant Communications’ Zenith Media, which handle various pieces of Sony’s media in Europe, and WPP Group’s MindShare will present to Sony in Europe this week.

All four were contenders in Sony’s recently completed, $600 million North American media consolidation. Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann, the incumbent on Sony’s theatrical media business in the U.S., won the North American review in January, following a yearlong series of discussions and presentations.

The North American account includes media planning and buying for Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Electronics. Sony Computer Entertainment, which markets PlayStation, remained at OMD, but sources said Computer Entertainment will be part of the European review.

MindShare sibling The Media Edge (now Mediaedge:cia) was the incumbent for Sony Electronics in the U.S.

Last month, Zenith was awarded Sony’s Asia/Pacific account following a review that also included OMD and CIA (now part of Mediaedge:cia).

The budget for that assignment was not disclosed. Dentsu, which owns a piece of Starcom parent Bcom3, continues to handle Sony media in Japan.

A decision is expected next month. Sony declined comment.