A flurry of media companies are evaluating or shifting their media agency relationships as they wrestle with digital’s increasing influence over TV budgets and content.
Four media organizations moved, or are currently considering a change in their media agency relationships. FX Networks has currently partnered with Publicis Groupe’s Zenith, dropping smaller incumbent c. Al Jazeera has begun a review on the one-year anniversary of its American network. ABC Family is in the midst of a pitch and NBCU recently consolidated its digital-media business with its traditional media shop Maxus, moving the business from smaller incumbent Ignited. Al Jazeera, NBCU and ABC Family either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment.
FX Network picked media agency Zenith to handle TV and digital planning and buying for its FX, FXX, FXM and FX Now brands. It also has considerable influence in national and local buying. The account had been handled by MediaStorm previously. The agency currently has a relationship with 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment, having managed strategy, planning and buying for the account since 2007 giving it entertainment expertise.
Stephanie Gibbons, president of marketing and on-air for FX Networks, noted Zenith’s relationship with 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment the Publicis Groupe shop has managed strategy, planning and buying for the entertainment company since 2007—while championing the new partnership.
She further said, “We’re excited and energized to be joining forces with Zenith, a trusted partner of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment, as we evolve and position our business for continued success in a time of breathtaking change and opportunity.” The assignment is effective immediately. Zenith’s first task will be the launch of American Horror Story: Freak Show in October.
Tim Jones, chairman and CEO of ZenithOptimedia replied, “We are thrilled to be working with FX Networks and their incredible line up of award-winning shows and quality commercial programming.” Zenith is part of Publicis Group. The account will be managed from Zenith’s L.A. office, while buying will be handled in Los Angeles and New York. Sources estimated media spending at more than $15 million.
The business was won without a pitch, but FX began talking to Zenith in May. The assignment includes FX, FXX, FXM and FXNow. Overall, these agency changes are likely tied to bigger external changes affecting media companies, such as budgets and eyeballs shifting from traditional TV to digital media.
“There is definitely pressure on the more traditional, established media companies to continue to evolve and compete with newer companies,” said MEC North America CEO . “The continued explosion of content, coupled with the ability to better leverage the application of data for richer targeting, is another aspect driving this focus. These companies need to compete by continuing to evolve their business model.”
It goes beyond just broadcast. “Part of this results from publishing companies who need to find alternate sources of revenue,” she said, referencing Time Magazine’s year-old documentary film unit, Red Border Films.