Disney Prepares to Review $1 Billion-Plus Global Media Business

6 agencies invited to pitch

Disney signage below a screen
The company just completed its acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
Getty Images

Disney will soon begin a closed review of its entire global media planning and buying business. Several sources close to the matter told Adweek that the pitch, expected to kick off in the fall, will involve a series of incumbent agencies from four major holding companies, as well as independent network Horizon Media.

The pitch will concern the entirety of Disney’s portfolio, which now includes properties formerly owned by 20th Century Fox.

According to the same sources, consultancy MediaLink will manage the review process. A MediaLink representative declined to comment. Disney has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The review follows Disney’s selection of OMD Entertainment to handle U.S. media for 20th Century Fox as a temporary partner last week, following the completion of its $71.3 billion acquisition of the property back in March. Multiple sources specified that OMD is currently managing Disney’s negotiations for the 2019-2020 upfronts and that all involved parties anticipated the coming review.

One party with direct knowledge of the review said its purpose will be to save as much money as possible, in accordance with the terms of the merger. This individual said Disney has a particular target to hit regarding overall savings.

Among the incumbents on the Disney account invited to participate are OMD, WPP’s Mindshare, Publicis’ Zenith, Dentsu’s Carat, which handles media for Disney Parks, independent media agency Horizon, which handles Disney networks such as ABC, and independent agency Wieden + Kennedy. MDC Partners’ Assembly, which ran media for FX Networks and other parts of the Fox portfolio, will not pitch.

Dentsu, Publicis and OMD referred requests for comment to the client. Mindshare and Horizon have yet to respond to requests for comment.

Disney spent around $1 billion on measured marketing globally last year, while 20th Century Fox spent around $700 million, according to estimates from global independent research firm COMvergence.


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