SMG Is Recma's Global Network Billings King For 2013

Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) is the No. 1 ranked global media network for the fourth consecutive year, with $47.1 billion in billings, up 18.3%, according to Paris-based media agency research firm RECMA.

This 2013 Global Billings Rankings Report evaluates the activity—including buying, billings and specialized services—of global media agencies within holding companies across 62 countries.

Omnicom’s OMD was No. 1 among global networks ($41.2 billion, up 10%) and Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia was third ($36 billion, up 8%). WPP’s Mindshare was fourth ($34.6 billion, up 11.5%) and Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat was fifth ($32 billion, up 19%)

RECMA also named SMG No. 1 in the "Top 14 Countries" ranking, which accounts for 81% of the media agency industry. In addition, SMG retained its position in the overall regional evaluations— including its top rank in North America.

RECMA slices and dices media agency billings in many different ways including by operational group globally, which the firm defines as “the level that is considered by advertisers while selecting a media agency.” By that standard, Omnicom Media Group (including OMD and PHD) was the No. 1-ranked with billings of 54.4 billion, up 11%, while SMG was second and Dentsu Aegis Network was third with $42 billion in billings, up 17%.

WPP’s GroupM was top-ranked by holding company billings with $104.5, up 12% and a nearly 28% share of market.  Publicis Groupe was second with $83.1 billion, up nearly 14% with a 22% share of market. Omnicom Media Group ranked third with $54.7 billion, up 11% and a nearly 15% industry share, followed by Dentsu Aegis, and Mediabrands, and Havas Media.

By agency brand, Carat, part of Dentsu Aegis Network had the highest billings growth with an increase of 19.3% and Starcom was No. 1 posting an 18.3% growth in billings. Eight agencies reported growth of between 10% and 14% growth, and three agencies reported growth below 10%.

The U.S. leads countries by billings with $141 billion, followed by China ($27 billion) and the UK ($26.1 billion).

In North America, with a billings total of $149.4 billion (Canada contributes $8.4 billion, with the U.S. accounting for the rest) SMG was the top billing network with $27.8 billion, up 20%, while ZenithOptimedia was second with $16.2 billion, up 9.6%. Omnicom’s OMD was third with $15.4 billion, up 9.5%.

By holding company in North America, Publicis Groupe (SMG, ZenithOptimedia) was No. 1-ranked with $44.1 billion in billings, up 16%. GroupM (Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus) was second with $30 billion, up 8.5% and Omnicom Media Group (OMD, PHD) was third with $21.8 billion, up 11%. IPG Mediabrands (Initiative, UM and BPN) was fourth with $16.9 billion, up 6%, and Dentsu Aegis Network (Carat, Vizeum) was fifth with $11.6 billion, up 43%. Havas Media Group was ranked 6th with $3.4 billion, up 4%.

There's also a slight correlation between growth and industry share compared to total employee count. Those that have larger workforces tend to have more bookings. To that end, OMD employs the largest network workforce at 11,385, followed by SMG with 9,162, and Carat at 8.267.

Some 48 countries comprise the second tier of rankings, which represent 19% of intra group billings in 2013. Still, there is a narrow spread between the networks: OMD leads with industry share of 12.2%, followed by Mindshare at 11.3%, and MediaCom at 10.4%. Then, a pack of six networks maintain an industry share between 5 – 9%: Starcom (9.1%), Carat (8.1%), MEC (8.1%), UM (6.1%), ZO (5.2%) and Havas (5%). Lastly, the remaining networks with less than 5% market share in second tier countries are PHD (3.9%), Initiative (3.8%), Vizeum (2.7%), Maxus (2.6%) and Dentsu (1.8%).

At the same time, networks with the least amount of industry share in second-tier countries tend to report the largest year-over-year growth. Vizeum leads the way with 19.9% growth between 2012 and 2013, followed by Havas Media at 16.4%, and Maxus at 15.6%. 

Indeed, there is more competition among networks within the second tier countries. And networks that dominate in the top 14 countries aren't as strong in emerging markets. SMG, for instance, is number one in the Top 14 thanks to its dominance in the U.S., whereas the network ranks No. 1 among the second-tier countries. Likewise, OMD ranks No. 1 for the top 14 and number one in the second tier, and ZenithOptimedia ranks No. 8 for the second tier, compared to No. 3 for the top 14 countries. 

Holding companies also perform differently in specific regions. By share of market GroupM, for instance, is not as strong in North America and Latin America, reporting an industry share below 25% in both regions. However, GroupM reports the highest industry share in EMEA (32.2%) thanks to high booking activity in Europe (34.4%) and Asia Pacific (36.6%). 

Publicis (media) has its highest industry share in North America (29.5%), thanks to the strong activity in the U.S. OMG has a share below 20% across most of the world, including the top five countries in Europe, with EMEA representing its highest industry share (15.2%). Mediabrands is below 10% in EMEA and APAC, with its highest share of 13.2% coming from Latin America. And Havas Media Group is strongest in Latin America (23.3%), while below 5% in both North America and APAC.

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