NEW YORK: The number of advertising accounts under review or changing hands in the US last year fell by just four compared with 2007; their value, however, sank from $27.5 billion (€20.7bn; £18.8bn) to $14.7bn, the lowest level since 2003, reports Adweek.

Overall, 160 accounts were reviewed or moved last year, compared with 164 in 2007, but the aggregated value of these briefs fell by 47%.

Creative chores contributed 44% of accounts and value to the 2008 total, compared with 26% of accounts and 31% of value for media services (the remainder being full-service, digital or direct duties).

The factors contributing to the slump were said to include the chaos in the financial and auto sectors, while many clients were also more cautious, looking to renegotiate their existing compensation payments rather than switch agency.

Arthur Anderson, of Morgan Anderson Consulting, says the time, expense and risk required in agency reviews may have encouraged advertisers to opt for "marriage counseling" rather than making sweeping changes to their roster.

Data sourced from AdWeek (US); additional content by WARC staff