Comcast Awards Maxus, SMG $1.4B Media Biz

NBC Universal and Comcast Corp. have given their combined $1.4 billion-plus media-buying and planning business to GroupM's Maxus and Publicis Groupe's SMG.

Group M's Maxus seems to get a bulk of the somewhat surprising win -- getting all of NBCUniversal's domestic properties -- television and film work for Universal Studios. GroupM's MediaCom will continue to represent the company's media interests outside the U.S.

Putting the business at WPP Group's Maxus makes sense to some. Several of the WPP media shops have studio accounts that conflict with Universal. MEC, for example, handles Paramount, while MediaCom has the Warner Bros account. Mindshare services Summit Media.

SMG adds to its Comcast's MSO work, with the NBC Universal theme-parks business. Comcast Corp. cable operators' businesses media-buying had been handled by Starcom MediaVest Group's MediaVest unit.

The move to consolidate has been in the works since Comcast Corp. completed its majority ownership deal in NBC Universal earlier this year. In a statement, NBC said: "The decision to consolidate our media agencies was made in order to streamline the way our companies conduct business."

Omnicom's OMD was the incumbent for the Universal Studio business, and Horizon Media for NBC Universal's TV-buying business. Fallon has handled NBC media planning. Ignited USA handles NBC and Universal Film's digital media-buying and planning. Digital media was not part of the Comcast media review.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Omnicom wanted to team up with Horizon in an unusual deal to retain that business and win a greater share of Comcast. Omnicom hoped to pick up business without jeopardizing its existing CBS and Showtime Networks by starting up a separate entity called OH.

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