Initiative Media Launches Initiative Partners

LOS ANGELES-Initiative Media North America will launch a new company next month called Initiative Partners that will work with ad agencies of all sizes. Heading the new unit as president and CEO will be Bruce Silverman, Initiative executive vice president, managing director of the Southwest Region. Initiative Partners will begin life with an estimated $500 million-plus in billings from about 60 agencies around the country which already partner with the Interpublic media network for media, but which will pursue new alliances independent of Initiative Media as well.

Initiative’s predecessor, Western International Media, was generally considered the first true media buying firm in the U.S. when it began in 1970, offering small and midsized agencies the buying power of the largest shops at a time when media was a commodity and clout was critical. Initiative Partners is positioning itself as a 21st Century version of that idea, offering smaller agency players access to the research and resources of a global media network at a time when those capabilities are necessary to compete. Agencies that work with IP will buy through Initiative Media, but the new entity is positioning itself as a strategic resource.

“Unless they are giants, agencies today have a difficult time keeping up with a radically and increasingly different media world,” said Silverman, whose 30-year advertising career includes two decades of experience running small and midsized shops. “What we hope to do is catapult our agency partners forward in terms of dealing with the new media landscape.”

“This is a core part of our business,” said Lou Schultz, chairman and CEO of Initiative Media. “A lot of agencies don’t play there. It’s part of our heritage.”

Initiative Partners will be headquartered in Los Angeles and staffed with IP-dedicated personnel, including many of Initiative Media’s existing client service team. The new company will fall under the purview of Carolyn Bivens, managing director of the Western Region of Initiative Media. Silverman said the rest of IP’s top management team will be announced in a few weeks.

Jack Feuer