How the ad agencies blew it

How the ad agencies blew it

Media buyers were sitting pretty on a commission of 15 per cent, until someone had the bright idea of shrinking that to beat the competition

Media buying agencies are coming under scrutiny. Are they coming under pressure? “The model is broken,” they whisper. “Something’s got to give.” “You should write about it,” others suggest.

What they’re muttering about is the way media buying agencies get paid. They’re talking about a revenue model that for years has served the industry well, but now looks creaky. But to go forward, we have to first look back.

In the 19th...

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