Dr Mumbo

Cash for client access: a new low for media?

If the rumours swirling through the media market in the past few weeks are correct then one media agency group may have plumbed new depths for the industry.

The widespread chatter talks of a ‘menu’ which appears to have been given by one media agency holding group to a carefully selected handful of media owners – many of which are running second in their markets.


It offers ‘introductions’ to certain clients along with the group boss in exchange for a fee. For example a one-off meeting might cost $50,000, while a series of four could be charged out at $150,000.

And we’re not talking small spenders here either.

It’s being framed as a ‘consulting service’, allowing media owners to get to know clients better and to help them solve their business problems. And here Dr. Mumbo was thinking that was the job of the media agency.

Is this really what it’s come to in the new age of ‘transparency’? Kickbacks replaced with an introduction service.

The big question is whether clients know they are being pimped out for the financial gains of their agency? It’s certainly one way they could save a few bucks on agency fees, but they’re unlikely to get the best rates on the media.

As for the media owners it’s certainly not bought the holding company any fans amongst them, but at the same time many will be too scared to either speak up about it or not take at least one meeting in order not to jeopardise the relationship.

It’s a worrying precedent at a time when clients are taking more of an interest in the media landscape, with more and more attending upfront presentations for all manner of media companies these past few weeks.


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