Kinetic Worldwide, the out-of-home planning-and-buying specialist, is – literally and figuratively – gaining mass in the US.
In early June, 36 employees from various offices of WPP Group’s media agency MindShare will relocate to new digs at Kinetic in New York and Chicago. Later this summer, out-of-home buyers and planners at MediaCom, also part of WPP, will do the same. They join a group of 10 Mediaedge:cia employees who moved into Kinetic’s existing operations last summer. All the employees from the media agencies will continue to work with the same clients, but now under Kinetic’s roof. Once the changes take effect, Kinetic will have about 80 employees within its US operation.
“This is the conclusion of a long-term plan that was launched after Kinetic was created in 2005,” said Mike Segrue, global chief client officer. By the end of 2006, Kinetic’s US billings were expected to be between $450 million and $500 million, he said.
Born out of merger
In the summer of 2005, Portland Outdoor Ltd (a WPP outdoor specialist) and independent Poster Publicity Group merged to form Kinetic. The company is 50 per cent owned by WPP Group and 50 per cent owned by a management group that includes Segrue and Steve Ridley, a Brit who moved stateside in 1998 to head operations at Poster Publicity. Ridley is now Kinetic’s CEO, Americas.
Most large media agencies operate out-of-home buying-and-planning units, but few have separate out-of-home agencies that have global reach. Aegis Group in April rebranded Outdoor Vision, its out-of-home operation, as Posterscope USA to align it more closely with its non-US business, which operates as Posterscope Worldwide. It operates 32 offices in 15 countries.
“Out of home is becoming a more important media,” Ridley said. Changes in consumer behaviour, such as the increased use of cellphones, personal digital assistants and other mobile media, coupled with more time spent commuting and traveling, potentially increase out of home’s ability to capture the consumer’s attention. As marketers respond to that phenomenon, “there’s more opportunity for someone with scale to take advantage of increased demand”, Ridley added.
In addition to its US operations, Kinetic has 27 offices in markets, including Singapore, Frankfurt, Paris and London. The company, which has global billings of $1.8 billion, employs 300 people globally. Eric Newnham, formerly group chief executive of Poster Publicity, is global CEO.