Longstanding Zenith client 20th Century Fox moves $20m account to Blue 449

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 24 February 2017

Film studio 20th Century Fox has ended its 12-year relationship with Zenith, in favour of its stablemate Blue 449.

The global review of media buying and planning, which began in May 2015, was slowly concluded region-by-region with Zenith being appointed media agency in varying global regions.

However, news that Zenith had specifically retained it in Australia had not been officially confirmed, although many understood this to be the case. AdNews understands that while Zenith was the incumbent on the account, the client was looking to move it elsewhere due to rumoured differences between the client and agency team. The agency refutes the rumours.

Publicis Media simply says that it was ‘Publicis Media’ that retained the account, not Zenith, and that Publicis itself decided to shift the business after reviewing how best to serve the client within the group.

Zenith had been 20th Century Fox's media agency for more than a decade, but Publicis says it felt a fresh approach, offered by Blue 449, would help drive 20th Century Fox's business forward.

Industry sources tell AdNews that while the media spend stays on Publicis Media books, client realignment to another agency, against the run of the brand’s global structure, is not as easy as it sounds. Blue 449 is now expected to hire between 10 to 15 staff for a client of that size.

 Zenith Australia CEO Nickie Scriven tells AdNews there will be no redundancies.

The agreed transition from Zenith to Blue 449 Australia will take place in the coming weeks.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with 20th Century Fox within Publicis Media," Publicis Media Group, Australia CEO Matt James says.

"The transition of the business to Blue 449 creates a fresh solution that will layer a new strategic perspective onto Fox’s business. At the same time, we will maintain access to the long term historical knowledge and legacy of Zenith’s 12-year relationship with the business."

John Preston, CEO of Blue 449 Australia, says the team are looking forward to working on 20th Century Fox and feel “privileged” at the opportunity of partnering with them. 

“We look forward to leveraging our expertise at Blue 449 to support growth and build the Fox business. This is a great testament to the versatility of the Publicis Media group working together for the benefit of the client.”

An 18-month review

The 21st Century Fox global media review was been one of the longest-running in recent times, probably owing to the fragmented nature of Murdoch's film and TV business.

Murdoch's media empire is primarily split into two major holding companies – News Corporation, which includes print assets across the world and pay TV interests in Australia, and 21st Century Fox, which includes subscription TV assets across the world (including Fox, BSkyB, National Geographic and Star) as well as the film studio and distributor, 20th Century Fox.

In Australia, 21st Century Fox's assets are mostly limited to 20th Century Fox Film Distributors and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The media agencies that handle Murdoch's businesses include MediaCom, which recently won a pitch to consolidate media duties for the print arm of News Corp; Mindshare, which handles the pay TV arm, Foxtel, and Zenith, which will continue to manage media for 20th Century Fox.

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