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Agencies Weigh In on the Web
Internet Becomes a Focal Point at Annual Media Conference

Be it ad spending, agency holdings, new clients or new investments, talk of dot.coms and the Internet were front and center at last week's annual PaineWebber media conference.

On Friday, Interpublic Group of Cos. Announced the re-branding of its interactive holdings under a single name: Zentropy Partners. Its newly minted CEO, John Connors III (Jack Connors' son), explained how the entity would function separately from IPG's shops.

Omnicom, meanwhile, boasted of its stable of interactive holdings-including Agency.com, which went public on Tuesday, starting at $26 a share and rising to $76 before closing on Friday at $62. "We've had a good week so far," deadpanned CEO John Wren.

Not to be outdone, WPP Group plc noted that one of its clients-IBM-is the largest buyer of Internet banner ads.

Seemingly less bullish about the Web was Saatchi & Saatchi plc, focusing instead on its traditional business with Procter & Gamble and Toyota.

Earlier in the week, media forecasters projected steady growth in ad spending for next year. The good news: Both Robert Coen, senior vice president and forecasting director at Universal McCann, and Zenith Media CEO John Perriss said U.S. and global spending would rise.

Coen projected an 8.3 percent increase in the U.S., from an estimated $215 billion to an estimated $233 billion, while Perriss predicted a 6.9 percent jump from $130 billion to $139 billion.

Coen attributed the projected growth to advertising in an election year, millenium marketing and the upcoming Summer Olympics. Perriss cited the same factors but added the influence of -- you guessed it --"new media companies."


Andrew McMains with Richard Linnett and Jack Feuer, ADWEEK. December 13, 1999

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