Universal McCann nets 20m BSkyB business

BSkyB has shocked the industry by handing its entire 20m media planning and buying account to Universal McCann.

It is the second big win for Universal this year. Two months ago, it picked up the 12m media planning and buying account for Esso from J Walter Thompson, after JWT’s main agency landed rival Shell’s creative business across Europe.

Speculation was rife when BSkyB called the pitch that it intended to move its business into Ogilvy & Mather’s media buying agency, The Network. The Network plans to merge with the media operation of WPP sister agency JWT.

There had been speculation that Zenith’s former chief executive Christine Walker would move to The Network’s Canary Wharf offices to run the combined UK media operation, taking Sky with her.

The move to Universal will be a blow to The Network managing director Mandy Pooler, who resigned the ITV’s 10m media planning and buying to pitch for BSkyB.

The Network and JWT made a joint proposal to the Central Office of Information’s media review two weeks ago, suggesting the merger was imminent.

Sky marketing director Jim Hytner comments: “We have been with Zenith for five healthy years and feel this is an appropriate time for a change.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here