IMAA: Indies primed for post lockdown boom, NSW media tender under investigation

The Independent Media Agencies Australia (IMAA)  has hit 100 members less than 2 years on from its inception, and according to general manager Sam Buchanan, the industry is set to see “some pretty strong numbers in the run home to Christmas, and moving forward”.

“All of our agencies I’ve spoke to about where they’re at, they’re all almost to a degree, they kind of feel a little bit embarrassed about how well everyone’s going along,” he told Mumbrella. “So I have every confidence that when the numbers come out, shortly, they’re going to just continue growing and growing and growing.”

Buchanan said that “all of our members are having a very good time”, as the body announced 23 new members today, in a list including Cummins & Partners, Alpha Digital and Affinity.

IMAA’s Sam Buchanan

Buchanan also said that following calls for the NSW Government to update its media tender, which excluded independent agencies, the IMAA has now activated a freedom of information request, in order to find out how the decision to exclude indies came about.

“We’re in the process at the moment of asking them the questions of how did they come about to making their decisions. Just some fair questions about, what was the process, who was involved and why indies were locked out from it.”

“We’ve activated the GIPA Act, which is the freedom of information act. We’ve had to do that three times because they’re trying to dodge the bullet a little bit there. I imagine that they’re holding back something that’s not that pretty for the government. It’s probably to use some international firm to give the money to the other holding groups.”

IMAA group shot

“We haven’t had any cooperation from Victor Dominello or any one of the members. All of our CEO’s have spoken to a local members and we’ve just been flat batted with the standard response from Dominello’s office. But we’re not going to let up.”

Buchanan said that the IMAA believes there is plenty of business for everyone, and that one company should not hold on to everything.

“We think there is enough business for everyone, for holding groups, for local Australian owned businesses. It’s just a better way of doing it, and when the hold it with just one, it’s just lazy policy.”

Buchanan also said that by not allowing a spread of the business, it won’t be a better result for tax payers, with smaller departments such as the Arts not getting similar attention to some of the “bigger ones”.

“We just want the ability to play on the same field and have a go at it, rather than just be locked out from the dance party, so to speak.”

The IMAA said that the independent sector represents approximately $2.5 billion in media expenditure and IMAA member agencies employ more than 1,000 people that all contribute to the Australian economy.

On the new members, Buchanan said: “In under two years since our launch, we’ve grown from just five agencies to 100 members, and reaching this number makes us a strong and influential industry association. All agency applications are evaluated before being approved as IMAA members
and all have scale and clout.”

Affinity CEO, Luke Brown, said: “Never have we experienced such a dynamic, engaged and progressive group of thinkers in the IMAA and its members. This is no accident really given the type of people attracted to starting or being part of indie agencies: we love to challenge the status quo. Gone are the days where scale of buying matters, in fact quite the opposite. Larger groups can struggle to scale the thinking and that’s where the indies shine. The IMAA is the perfect platform at the perfect time where marketing is looking to do things differently, being more strategic and effective.”


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