France Telecom to review European media business

France Telecom is set to review the advertising arrangements for all its European brands, including Orange and Wanadoo, with a view to consolidating the business. The account is estimated to be worth £500m in Europe.

A France Telecom spokesman says: “It is likely we will look at our advertising in the same way we looked at our media.”

The company reduced its media planning and buying roster from nine to two agencies in 2003 as part of its Total Operating Performance efficiency programme. Initiative Media handles media planning and buying in the UK and Media Planning Group in rest of Europe.

France Telecom has a number of roster agencies working on its brands throughout Europe. Mother handles Orange’s £55.3m advertising account in the UK, while M&C Saatchi looks after Wanadoo’s £14.4m creative business in this country. The spokesman adds that plans to review its roster are not likely to take effect immediately.

There has been intense industry speculation about the future of both accounts and it was reported last year that the internet service provider, formerly known as Freeserve, was looking to consolidate its £80m pan-European ad account into one agency – a story Wanadoo has strenuously denied.

Sources also say France Telecom is deeply in debt and needs to cut costs as soon as possible.

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