Josh Dovey. Picture: SUPPLIED
Josh Dovey. Picture: SUPPLIED

In an increasingly tough advertising environment the Omnicom Media Group (OMD) has entrenched its position as the leading media agency in SA.

This is based on new figures from Recma, a global research company acknowledged as the benchmark measure of performance.

In 2017 OMD showed growth of 7% with a market share of just over 20%, compared with its closest rival by size, The Media Shop, which has a market share of just over 16%. Both agencies employ around 175 people.

The shock in the numbers comes from two agencies in the WPP fold — Mindshare and MediaCom, clustered together as GroupM — whose growth fell by 20% and 10%, respectively.

OMD’s second agency, PHD, which is able to work for competitors of its parent agency’s clients, grew by 5%.

A notable success story has been the rapid growth of Vizeum (up 45%) and Carat (up 30%), which are part of the Dentsu group.

Josh Dovey, CEO of OMD Africa, is delighted with the performance of both its SA operating companies. "OMD has retained its market leadership for the 15th year, with growth off a very high base, thanks to significant new business, including Edcon and MTN.

"PHD [consolidated] the Volkswagen business it won in 2016 after a global review. Since our acquisition of Page Three Media and its incorporation into the PHD network, it has doubled its billings, with both domestic business and global wins."

Digital shift

Dovey remains relatively upbeat about the ad industry in 2018, but points to a paradigm shift in the way business is being done.

"The march to the digital platform as the conduit for all content delivery to consumers continues apace, and is irreversible," he says.

"In an SA context this has been a little slower than elsewhere, and free-to-air television is still a major player, but the ‘now’ generation of urban consumers is fully digitised.

"I think instant mass communication will open up to both radio and outdoor advertising.

"The model for pay-TV — that of paying a subscription for a large bouquet of channels you never watch — is broken."

Chris Botha, group MD of The Media Shop, believes the media agency sector is, at best, flat. He questions how some agencies have managed to grow at more than 40%.

Contributing to The Media Shop’s 5% growth in 2017 was a trio of new account wins — Old Mutual, SAA and MultiChoice.

The group is setting up a second media agency in SA.