When Capital One hired independent agency The7stars earlier this month, the advertiser’s brand director Katy Lomax hailed the agency’s “transparent approach” to media buying. Less than a week later, food-delivery company Deliveroo echoed that sentiment, calling the agency “compelling.” Both advertisers’ decisions to opt for The7stars rather than big holding groups illustrate that a network agency’s loss is now an independent shop’s gain.
The last 12 months have seen a steady flow of media budgets into independent agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Of the £11 billion ($14.7 billion) of media billings tracked by research firm Comvergence across 21 markets including the U.S., Germany and India over the first nine months of the year, around £2.1 billion ($2.8 billion) was assigned to independent media agencies. One-third (16) of the 42 accounts analyzed in the first six months moved to an independent shop, including Honda’s £449 million ($600 million) to Horizon Media and Sprint’s £516 million ($690 million) to RPA. Comvergence estimated independent agencies mainly concentrated in the U.S. would win a further £224 million to £300 million ($300 million to $400 million) in the last three months of the year.
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