Bucking what many still believe to be the trend, clients are beginning to question that big is beautiful when it comes to the worldwide planning and buying of media.

So claims new research carried out for EuroLab, the international unit of UK media independent BLM. Not only do nearly half of the marketers questioned (48%) see no tangible benefit from ongoing consolidation among media shops, they also express concern about transparency within the industry

Moreover, 73% of clients believe that media networks artificially influence media channel selection. An even greater number (84%) suspect that agency networks strike deals with media owners for their own benefit as well as that of clients.

Says BLM chairman Nick Lockett: "The results show a shocking level of dissatisfaction among clients towards media networks. There seems to be a suspicion and mistrust among clients about deals and an inherent lack of transparency."

Other data from the report indicates that ...

  • 73% believe that new media, interactive and digital channels are not sufficiently catered for by the networks;

  • 53% are concerned about the level of choice in the number of media agencies;

  • 71% say that smaller agencies can buy better than big agencies. However, a significant number of clients admit they are powerless to change.
Comments Stephen White, chairman of media management consultancy EMM International which carried out the research: "International advertisers are telling us they are caught between the uncertain performances of consolidated multinational agencies and the time it takes to isolate local media agencies with their undoubted local benefits.

"For certain types of advertiser, particularly those spending less than £16 million, local media independents are an increasingly attractive proposition."

Data sourced from mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff