Interpublic Shutters Magna Global Entertainment

Bill Hilary of Magna Global EntertainmentFurther de-emphasizing its Magna brand name, Interpublic Group has confirmed that its Magna Global Entertainment division, which was responsible for producing a number of television shows for its clients, has closed.

An IPG spokesman said Magna Global Entertainment stopped operation in September of this year. The division, which launched in 2001, was most recently headed by Bill Hilary, president of the division and based in Los Angeles.

One of its biggest ongoing programs efforts was its longtime made-for-TNT movie series "Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation." Recent films included "The Ron Clark Story" with Matthew Perry and "A Perfect Day" with Rob Lowe.

In 2003, Magna Global Entertainment teamed with Ben Silverman's Universal-based Reveille and Mark Burnett Productions in producing the summer reality series "The Restaurant" on NBC, for which American Express, Coors Brewing Company and Mitsubishi Motors were co-sponsors.



The change at Magna is part of Interpublic's restructuring of its media assets, which included the recent launch of its new media umbrella Mediabrands unit, which houses IPG's main media agencies: Initiative, Universal McCann and Magna Global.

When Magna Global started, one of its primary functions was as a media-buying operation--especially in buying national television, working with Initiative and Universal McCann. Magna Global also included TV production/brand entertainment and research activities. What now remains of the Magna brand is a research and consultancy area for its clients.

An IPG spokesman wrote in an email: "Increasingly, it has become apparent that our creative and media agencies believe that this capability must be embedded into their operations, so that branded content becomes an integral part of brand strategy and communications planning, as well as the creative process."

Not only would these activities be done at the clients' agencies, but with two branded entertainment IPG agencies: Endeavour Marketing and Translation. Initiative clients also have a resource in the media agency's Los Angeles-based Initiative Innovations and Entertainment units.

The last of Magna's media-buying activities ended when Larry Blasius, executive vice president and director of negotiations for Magna Global, departed the group this past summer. Two years before, Bill Cella, who helped found Magna Global, and was chairman-CEO, left to become vice chairman of DraftFCB. Last December, Cella left IPG.

Media analysts have long speculated that there were some redundancies and overlap of activities at Magna Global and its media agencies.

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