Major holding groups cleared by Department of Justice into post production practices

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 15 November 2018

All five agency holding companies subpoenaed by the Department of Justice have been cleared following a probe into their video production and post production practices.

MDC Partners, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, WPP and IPG all confirmed the investigations into their subsidiaries had been closed without any action taken. 

The two-year investigation looked into the “non-transparent” practices and assessed whether ad agencies were unfairly directing production business to their in-house departments over independent shops.

Ad agencies were being investigated for allegedly rigging the bidding process by encouraging production houses to increase their prices so that the contract was given to the agency's in-house team. 

Australian production companies spoke out against these practices last year, with execs accusing ad agencies of undercutting them, stealing their ideas and a lack of transparency.

Over the past two years, the practice of non-transparent media buying has become a hot topic within the ad industry following a report from the Association of National Advertisers that revealed the prevalence of media rebates.

It reportedly kicked off a conversation in Australia about transparency standards in the region and led to the fragmenting of trust within the industry.

Federal prosecutors are additionally probing non-transparent practices in the media-buying industry. While the investigation is currently confined to the US, the findings will have ramifications for the global industry.

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