There’s a new media agency network in town that’s trying to take on already established players. Called Local Planet the network comprises of independent media agencies in 40 markets around the world.
Only one agency from each country is allowed to be part of the network in order to keep collaboration up and competition down. The Australian agency is PMA Communications Group (PMACG), an independently owned agency established in 1989. Clint McCarthy, CEO of PMACG, said the “new breed of network” was launched to compete with other established players.
The network officially launched at the start of this week. It’s been three years in the making and began with 3000 staff and $10 billion in billings, said McCarthy. “We’re obviously a reasonable size already,” he told B&T, “but there’s plenty of work to get done as well.”
“We’ve looked at some alternatives and different models, and we believe we’ve come up with the best model now to compete.”
Former global CEO of Vizeum and global chief client officer at Aegis Media, Martyn Rattle has been named global CEO.
Bill Koenigsberg, president, founder and CEO of Horizon Media in the States, is chairman of the network.
Agencies pay a share to become part of the group, but remain independent, explained PMACG’s McCarthy. And as there is only one in each market, this diminishes competition as you’re not trying to steal clients. He said this actually benefits clients as the agencies can talk between countries and give advice and learnings.
Still, it’s what many global media agencies do already, albeit not being classified as independent.
One of the biggest challenges McCarthy foresees for the network is misconception about scale, and clients wondering how they’re getting the same value and scale they would from an established network.
“It’s all about education really,” he said. “The scale argument doesn’t really hold true for all clients. The value in the holding companies is discretionary.
“For example, they can reserve the best deals for the biggest clients but the small clients rarely benefit from that value and quality.”
In terms of educating the market, McCarthy said it was about telling clients in pitches and establishing a connection with the media.
“Because this is a new breed of network, it’s quite different, there’s new challenges with us competing with the large, established networks.”
For McCarthy, he got PMACG involved as he saw a space to move into.
“It’s exciting to share the learnings, best practice, tools, tech and data…we can use that for our local clients, but then the opportunity to grow within an exciting network that’s a new breed is exciting,” he said.
Some of the founding agencies are: Horizon Media in the U.S., the United Kingdom’s the7stars, Spain’s Zertem Communication Group, Italy’s Media Italia, Germany’s pilot, France’s CoSpirit MediaTrack, Sweden’s Tre Kronor, India’s Percept Media and Australia’s PMA Communications Group.
In a statement, CEO Rattle said: “We know that many international marketers are looking for an alternative to the holding company model, a more agile and service oriented oriented solution built around their specific needs.
“The shared experiences of starting successful independent agencies from scratch is an important factor behind Local Planet and its culture. Each one of Local Planet’s agencies has started, grown and succeeded by fighting for and on behalf of their clients. We are now bringing that start-up, independent spirit to our global network.
“We are looking forward to working together with international clients in the pursuit of shared success.”