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New Media Independent Aims To Top The Market

ATTN: BUSINESS EDITORS

The media services market faces a shake up with the launch of new local entity, Spark, which has aggressive plans to become the country's number one media company.

The market for media services - centred on buying media time for advertisers - is undergoing rapid change. Explosive growth in television and new media channels, like the Internet, provide marketers with many more ways of talking to consumers, but also makes it harder to be sure they are reaching the desired audience.

Spark will be headed by three of New Zealand's leading media strategists who say the new entity will allow them to put into practice new approaches and new thinking which are critical to achieving effective client solutions in a confused and fast-changing market.

Spark's three partners are Richard Fenner, formerly Managing Director of Mindshare, Louise Bond, who has been Mindshare's General Manager, and Derek Lindsay, Media Director at Ammirati.

All three rank among New Zealand's most senior media people and are leaving their current agencies to create the new entity, which they expect will quickly become a serious contender in the market.

Spark's Derek Lindsay says the firm is backed by worldwide advertising and media giant Interpublic, which owns the world's largest independent media services company Western Initiative Media.

"This gives us access to the best media buying tools in the world," he said.

Spark has the rights to use proprietary systems and technology developed by Western Initiative Media, including its sophisticated tools for optimising the buying of television time, and measuring the effectiveness of advertising.

Spark's start-up clients in New Zealand include Communications Company Ammirati Puris Lintas, and the new brand and direct agency Draft Worldwide, both owned by Interpublic. Both agencies will place all their media with the new company.

Mr Lindsay said that increasing accountability, as well as the fragmentation of the media landscape meant that, more than ever, marketers required the skill and resources of an independent media specialist.

Mr Lindsay said that monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of any marketing initiative was critical, but not an easy task in today's media climate.

Richard Fenner and Louise Bond both said that contractual arrangements with Mindshare prevented them from commenting in detail on the new venture at this time.

However, both said they were enthusiastic about the move and excited by the opportunities for Spark in the media services market.

ENDS....

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