Disney has moved more of its U.S. media buying and planning business to OMD, assigning media responsibilities for 20th Century Fox to dedicated division OMDE, according to several people familiar with the matter and internal documents obtained by Adweek.
Company leadership announced the decision to its teams and agency partners late last week. That means OMDE is handling Disney’s negotiations for the 2019-2020 upfronts, which are going on now.
The news, which multiple sources said was expected, followed the Disney company’s completion of its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox in March. Much like WarnerMedia’s decision to shift all of its media work to Omnicom’s Hearts & Science in late 2018 after AT&T acquired Time Warner, this account move also occurred without a formal review.
Publicis’ Zenith formerly handled TV and digital buying for theatrical and home videos as well as FX Networks, while MDC Partners’ Assembly handled other unspecified portions of the 20th Century Fox business. FX and other Fox Networks were not part of the work that went to OMD.
“This move has been anticipated and planned for since the announcement of the Disney acquisition and related management changes,” an Assembly spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done together and wish Fox all the best going forward.”
A representative for Zenith deferred to the client. Disney has yet to respond to a request for comment.
Several sources also characterized the shift as a short-term solution, anticipating Disney will issue an RFP this fall.
OMD has been Disney’s primary media agency since 2013, when it won the film studio’s business away from incumbent 4D, a Publicis Groupe solution, in a surprise review-free turn. Now, it will handle media planning and buying for that studio as well as Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox Films and Home Entertainment as well as the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.
The size of the win for OMD, which was Adweek’s 2018 Media Agency of the Year, is not clear—nor is the scope of the losses for Publicis and Assembly. Both Disney and 20th Century Fox spent hundreds of millions in measured media promoting their various properties annually.
Kantar Media has Disney spending $1.02 billion across its brand portfolio in the U.S. last year.