Shop May Gain From Cable, Satellite Deals
BOSTON--Sansome Group, which handles direct marketing duties for U.S. Satellite Broadcasting, may possibly pick up similar duties for DirecTV, which is in the process of buying USSB for $1.3 billion.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco agency's parent, Boston-based Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, may pick up direct marketing duties for TCI Communications, the nation's largest cable operator, sources said. With AT&T's $37 billion acquisition of TCI expected to conclude in a few weeks, Bronner, already lead direct shop for AT&T, is preparing for an influx of billings at its Boston headquarters, said sources close to both the agency and the client.
Bronner officials anticipate adding some assignments from DirecTV once the buyout of USSB is completed, and believe they can juggle potential conflicts between AT&T-TCI and DirecTV by handling the accounts in separate offices on opposite coasts, sources said. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, currently handles the $50 million USSB ad account.
No decisions have been made, but some agency consolidations are planned, said one source familiar with DirecTV's decision making process. DirecTV officials did not return calls.
DirecTV's advertising and direct marketing are handled by Campbell-Ewald in Los Angeles and and Direct Partners in Santa Monica, Calif., respectively. Those assignments are believed to total more than $150 million in combined billings.
One source said Bronner could gain as much as $50 million in TCI billings, but key questions remain. It is unclear if TCI will continue to operate as a stand-alone brand, and its ultimate configuration will likely have a significant effect on spending levels, sources said.
"This is only good news for us.
I feel bullish about where we're heading," said Bronner president David Kenny of the complex machinations.
Kenny referred specific questions to AT&T representative Stephen Graham, who said it was "premature" to talk about agency assignments. TCI officials could not be reached by press time. --with Teresa Buyikian and Justin Dini