Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO remains Britain’s top-billing advertising agency according to new research, but the ad recession has taken a £58.1 million ($92.8m; €86.1m) bite out of its billings.

The Campaign Top 300 Agencies report, compiled by Nielsen Media Research, shows the shop’s billings tumbled 14.55% last year from £399.27m in 2001 to £341.17m.

There was little movement in the top ten, with the leading four shops remaining the same as last year. However, fifth place was snatched by M&C Saatchi, which surged up the table from the number eight spot in 2001.

The top ten in full (with 2002 billings and year-on-year change in parentheses) were:

1. Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO (£341.17m, -14.55%)
2. McCann-Erickson Advertising (£298.50m, +1.97%)
3. Lowe (£274.89m, +1.79%)
4. Ogilvy & Mather (£273.36m, +5.71%)
5. M&C Saatchi (£251.45m, +14.48%)
6. Publicis (£250.34m, -0.05%)
7. J. Walter Thompson London (£244.87m, +1.88%)
8. Saatchi & Saatchi (£234.30m, +3.50%)
9. Bates UK (£183.29m, -11.39%)
10. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R (£177.46m, -7.77%)

Outside the top ten, Cheetham Bell JWT’s £39.16m made it the biggest regional ad agency, edging out Leith on £38.52m.

Among media agencies, Carat remains the top media brand, with MediaCom jumping ahead of Zenith Media to take second spot.

The top ten media shops were:

1. Carat (£563.46m, -7.22%)
2. MediaCom (£550.06m, +5.39%)
3. Zenith Media (£537.72m, +1.13%)
4. MindShare (£480.77m, +3.70%)
5. OMD UK (£400.46m, +53.46%)
6. Starcom Motive Partnership (£372.36m, +21.44%)
7. Initiative Media London (£365.79m, +5.94%)
8. Universal McCann London (£287.31m, +16.96%)
9. PHD (£276.08m, -2.64%)
10. MediaVest UK (£272.25m, -4.18%)

These figures refer solely to media brands. Once regional offices and partner units are taken into account, MediaCom emerges as the top media agency group, followed by Zenith and Carat.

• Separately, Nielsen reported that UK media spend rose 0.7% last year. Ad income rose for television (+4.9%), radio (+2.3%), outdoor (+4.7%) and cinema (+9.6%). However, spend on regional press, magazines and newspapers fell by 4.5%.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff