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OMD claims biggest billings but GroupM still largest holding company in 2015 RECMA table

OMD Logo 2015

Omnicom agency OMD has held off Dentsu Aegis-owned rival Carat to boast the largest overall billings for a media agency in Australia according to the latest RECMA report, Mumbrella can reveal.

The figures covering financial year of 2014-15 shows OMD had claimed billings of $1.33bn, while Carat boosted its billings by 12 per cent to $1.30bn, leapfrogging GroupM agency Mediacom which claimed $1.23m in billings.

However GroupM retained the crown for highest overall billings for a holding group claiming activity of $2.844bn across its four agencies Mediacom, Mindshare, MEC and Maxus.

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Overall agency activity, 2014-15. Source: RECMA

However the WPP controlled GroupM boasted a growth rate of just three per cent, with Dentsu Aegis and Omnicom claiming group growth of 10 and 12 per cent respectively.

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Overall holding company activity. Source: RECMA

The RECMA rankings have long been controversial in the industry, with many claiming the lack of independent verification in the methodology used by the French benchmarking firm leads to inconsistencies in the data. It only monitors the activity for agencies aligned to the five main holding groups.

This year it put the total claimed media agency spend for the 16 agencies covered at $10.3bn, while Standard Media Index figures claimed media agency spend was only $7.8bn for the financial year to June.

RECMA is currently the only organisation ranking media agency spend in Australia after Nielsen stopped its media agency rankings due the challenges in independently verifying and attributing digital spends.

The figures show PHD and MEC were the fastest growing established agencies last year, reporting 23 per cent and 20 per cent growth respectively.

PHD’s wins last year included Bayer, SAP, Priceline, Amaysim and Cancer Council. Its recent win of the $59m Unilever account is not included in these figures.

GroupM agency MEC picked up accounts including $60m Nestle media account, Netflix and Dominos in the timeframe monitored.

Media agencies Ikon Communications (-11 per cent), Maxus (-11 per cent) and ZenithOptimedia (-6 per cent) all posted declines in overall activity.

Ikon sits 10th in the rankings despite losing significant accounts Goodman Fielder and Diageo. ZO last financial year lost Nestle and Qantas, while Maxus saw Dominos move to sister agency MEC which opened a presence in Queensland on the back of the win.

Mediacom is claiming to have grown in billings by one per cent despite the loss of the $80m Foxtel media account and $30m media IAG account to sister agency Mindshare following the controversy over misreporting of TV figures in the agency.

Mindshare’s billings jumped just $28m (5 per cent) in the reporting period to $605m, ninth overall.

On the staffing front, the now defunct Dentsu Aegis media agency Huckleberry was claiming 63 staff before it closed its full service brand last month in the wake of the loss of Medibank to sister agency Carat.

Another of the holding group’s agencies Dentsu Mitchells had the highest overall activity to staff ratio – the amount it spends on behlaf of clients per staff member – at $6.3m per employee.

“In the past couple of years there’s been a general restructuring in the business following account moves to other group brands as a result of the Aegis acquisition,” said Kenny Stewart, CEO of Dentsu Mitchells.

“We have streamlined the general headcount and also introduced relatively more senior account management and strategic resource into Dentsu Mitchell.

“It should be noted that more than half of Dentsu Mitchells is across two very large Government accounts (Federal Gov and Victorian Gov) which demand a good proportion of staff with a high activity rate.  This naturally reflects in a relatively higher billings to staff ratio.”

On the agency group level IPG Mediabrands had the highest activity to staff ratio with $5m in billings per staff member. The agency group declined to comment on the number.

It was also the only agency group to post declines in its overall staff levels, dropping from 354 in 2013 to 292 in 2014 – a move which is likely to be have been influenced by the move of the Federal Government from UM to Dentsu Mitchells.

Comment has also been sought from RECMA.

Nic Christensen 

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