CBS Places $100 Million Media Account In Review, Carat Will Pitch

Continuing its massive corporate remodeling, the new CBS Corporation has now put its $100 million media account into review. Aegis Group's Carat USA has been the media agency for CBS and UPN for the last seven years, and will participate in the review.

"This is how we can become even smarter," said George Schweitzer, president, CBS Marketing Group. "It's just appropriate for us to do. We want to be strategic."

Schweitzer says this has nothing to do with a lack of confidence in Carat. Instead, he says, it has more to do with a rapidly changing media world where mobile, video on demand, and Internet distribution points are taking on a more important role for TV programming. Recently, CBS, like other networks, inked a number of new video-on-demand deals with Comcast, Google, and iTunes Music Store.

Which agencies will make a play for the network? Schweitzer wouldn't say--only that: "As you can imagine, we have gotten phone calls from almost everyone."

CBS has hired ex-Sony Pictures Entertainment and ex-Universal McCann media executive, Cheryl Lodinger, to handle the media review. CBS wants the decision to be made by March in time for the upfront selling period, and to prepare marketing for the fall 2006-2007 season.



The review will include CBS and the UPN network, for which Carat had done media buying work. A big chunk of the CBS paid-media account goes for local radio. CBS, naturally, uses much of its own on-air time to promote its shows as well.

Also included in the review will be Showtime, Simon & Schuster Publishing, the Paramount theme parks, and CBS Digital Media.

A major piece of the CBS deal is with Showtime--which has had Starcom Media Group, Chicago, as its agency. According to TNS Media Intelligence, Showtime spent more on media than any other division at CBS Corp. For the first ten months of 2005, Showtime spent $34.8 million. UPN was next at 22.8 million; CBS spent $19.6 million in paid media; Infinity Broadcasting was at $2.4 million; and Westwood One spent $1.5 million.

Not included in the review are CBS television and radio stations, because much of their marketing efforts come from barter or co-op media deals rather than from paid-media buying.

In part, this is why Paramount Domestic Television and King World Productions--CBS' syndication TV divisions--might not be included in the review, says Schweitzer, because their paid media work is small. Much of Paramount and King World's media runs through co-op media deals in which the companies match local advertising dollars with local stations' ad dollars in support of their shows, such as King World's "Wheel of Fortune" and Paramount's "Entertainment Tonight."

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