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MEC Adds Paramount Media Overseas

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NEW YORK Paramount Pictures has consolidated its overseas media planning and buying duties for theatrical and home video under WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia after a review, the client has confirmed.

Estimated spending on the account is $250 million. The other contender in the review was Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia. MEC and Zenith were the main incumbents, though most of the business (including the $50 million U.K. portion) was handled by the latter.

MEC has been the client's media agency in the U.S. and Canada since 2004, and added DreamWorks last year after Paramount acquired the studio. Combined North American ad spending is estimated at $800 million.

The recently completed review was initiated earlier this year after Paramount and Universal Studios opted to dissolve their joint international marketing arm, United International Pictures. The unit sold films and home video for both studios outside the U.S. and Canada. The joint venture is being phased out market by market, and the two studios are setting up separate offices, a process that will be completed by the end of 2008.

MEC had handled media chores for UIP in 12 markets and will continue to service the joint venture in Argentina, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia and Singapore until the partnership is dissolved in those markets over the next 18 months.

Simon Coombes, vp of international media at Paramount, said in statement: "While we anticipate the move will deliver significant improvement in financial efficiency, we are just as excited by MEC's plans to introduce full picture life-cycle planning and replicate the level of strategic insights and business gains MEC has helped us achieve in other markets."

Alastair Aird, MEC's global COO, said, "We are tremendously proud of our relationship and the work we have provided Paramount and UIP around the world and look forward to extending it throughout the network."