Surmanek to Launch Media Consultancy

Jim Surmanek, former managing director of CIA Medianetwork in Chicago and New York, has joined with cable TV auditing company Cable Audit Associates to launch media consultancy MediaAnalysisPlus.

MAP is based in Denver, with a Chicago office opening in January. The company will specialize in third-party audits of marketers’ media buys, but will also offer media training and strategic counsel, as well as conduct media-agency reviews.

Media audits evaluate media campaigns to determine if spots ran when they were supposed to, were aired without technical difficulties and were bought at competitive rates. Third-party auditing is ubiquitous in Eur ope, where many cli ents don’t have the infrastructure to manage media buys across dif ferent countries and cultures. In the U.S., however, there are only a handful of such auditing services.

But Surmanek, whose 35-year career includes media posts at J. Walter Thompson, McCann-Erickson, Ogilvy & Mather and Carat North America, believes “we’re in the era of marketing accountability. … There was never a crying need for a third-party audit, but economic conditions, especially since Sept. 11, are forcing this kind of thing. [Marketers] cannot fully scrutinize the media return on investment they’re getting. My son, who’s a high school freshman, would love to grade his own exam. But I’m very happy that a third party does it.”

Sixteen-year-old Cable Audit Asso ciates works with Discovery Channel, HBO, NBC, Fox, MSG Network and other clients. Bruce Lazarus, president and COO, said the company decided to team with Surmanek to launch MAP because “it’s always been our intention to take our expertise outside of the cable box.”