NEW YORK - "In the next four to five years we will increase our share in Israeli advertising firms," Randy Weisenburger, the CFO of international advertising giant Omnicom, told TheMarker last week at the annual UBS media conference.
Omnicom is the world's largest advertising group, and owner of three of the 10 biggest global advertising brands: DDB, BBDO and TBWA Worldwide.
Some Israeli firms are already connected to Omnicom: Zarmon-Goldman, through an agreement signed with DDB two months ago; Yehoshua TBWA, which is 25 percent owned by TBWA; and Gitam BBDO and Drori Shlomo, which are both minority-owned by BBDO.
Omnicom also holds 30 percent of Data Pro Direct through BBDO. All the Israeli ad agencies in the Omnicom group, except for Zarmon-Goldman, are part of the same media buying group: TMF.
Omnicom is headquartered in the U.S. and has annual revenues of $12 billion. Its market value is $16.3 billion.
Internationally, advertising firms see two major events in 2008, both of which will flood the sector with enormous budgets: the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. presidential election, in which the candidates are expected to spend $4.5 billion on advertising.
But the conference was not all good news. Speakers lamented a wide range of problems from the Hollywood scriptwriters strike to the sub-prime crisis, predicting that they all would have a negative effect on the industry, with many expecting a slowdown in 2009 because of the credit crisis and other reasons.
The conference also saw expectations for Internet advertising to grow faster than any other segment, and for all media to switch to digital formats in the future.
Among the many advertising giants addressing the conference were Sir Martin Sorrell, the CEO of WPP, the second-largest advertising holding group in the world, and Omnicom's CEO, John Wren.