News Corp's $100m media pitch: The results are in

By David Blight | 20 November 2012
Rupert Murdoch (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons).

EXCLUSIVE: The hotly contested News Corp review has finally come to a close, with media agencies selected for the News Limited, Foxtel and 20th Century Fox accounts.

News Limited has appointed UM, while Foxtel has enlisted MediaCom and 20th Century Fox has held on to ZenithOptimedia.

The three agencies have been appointed after News Corp decided to split its consolidated media account, which previously sat with Publicis Media, into three accounts earlier in the year.

News Limited chief executive Kim Williams said: “Today’s announcement is another important step in the evolution of News Corp’s Australian businesses as we redefine the group.

“As we all focus on putting our customers at the centre of everything we do, it is imperative that we go to market with detailed, data-driven, insights - which respond well to expressed needs and consumption preferences.

“UM, MediaCom and ZenithOptimedia are all superb media agencies. Each brought to the table their own particular strengths, which will make them ideal partners for our companies.

“The calibre of presentation from all the agencies we saw was very high and it was a tough decision – we would like to thank all the participating agencies for the time and effort that went into their pitches. We would also like to thank ZenithOptimedia for its efforts on News Limited's, Foxtel’s and Twentieth Century Fox's behalf over the last seven years.”

UM was appointed to the News Limited business after a three-way pitch. The tussle had initially been a shoot-out involving MediaCom, PHD and Mediabrands-owned Initiative, but it appears Mediabrands changed its competing agency over to UM midway through the process.

Williams said: “During the pitch process it became clear that MediaBrands has a deep understanding of News Limited and the many opportunities for us to grow our business. UM’s commitment to innovation and their in-house analytical capabilities will be invaluable as we re-engineer News and our brands for all the platforms our consumers love – print, online, mobile, tablet and broadcast.”

MediaBrands executive chairman Henry Tajer said: “We are thrilled to be working with Australia’s largest media company, which houses some of the greatest brands in the country. Kim and his team have a bold strategy for growth and to be given the account as they transform News Limited is a real honour.”

Meanwhile, MediaCom won the Foxtel account after a pitch against ZenithOptimedia and UM.

Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein said: “We are delighted to welcome MediaCom as our new national media agency.  The quality and depth of their team will greatly enhance Foxtel’s capacity to tell its story of delivering a better entertainment experience.”

GroupM chairman and chief executive John Steedman said: “Having been given insight into Richard’s vision for Foxtel and some of the exciting brand and product developments ahead, there is no doubt that this is going to be a fantastic account for the MediaCom team to work on.”

Finally, ZenithOptimedia took the 20th Century Fox business following a three-way tussle between ZenithOptimedia, Vizeum and Mindshare.

Twentieth Century Fox managing director Marc Wooldridge said: "ZenithOptmedia put forward a compelling pitch demonstrating strategic planning excellence and focus on consumer insights with clear commercial application. ZO have a great track record on our business, and during the pitch process demonstrated first class capabilities for adding value in an increasingly fragmented and complex media environment."

ZenithOptimedia chief Ian Perrin said: “ZenithOptimedia is absolutely thrilled to be appointed as the media agency for Twentieth Century Fox. We are wholly committed to delivering ROI for our clients, and we couldn't find a partner who shares this commitment more. We look forward to building on the group partnership started by Publicis Media, and deliver innovative and effective solutions for them."

News will compete its review of its master media brands account in the coming weeks.

The consolidated News Corp account was estimated to be worth over $100 million in billings, though this will now be split between the different accounts.

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