- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) The media-buying arm of the advertising agency Omnicom Group will spend more than $1 billion on behalf of its clients over the next year on the ABC Television network, ESPN and other outlets of the Walt Disney Co., in what is likely the biggest deal of its kind.
The deal will place ads from OMB USA clients such as Pepsi, the Gillette Co. and Apple Computer Inc. on the Super Bowl, Academy Awards and other shows to be broadcast on ABC next season. The deal includes ads on NBA playoff games broadcast by ABC and ESPN and spots on Disney-owned cable channels and Internet sites as well as radio stations.
Much of the money will be spent during prime time on ABC, which is trying to reverse a ratings slump and will introduce seven new shows this fall more than any other network.
The deal is significantly larger than the $300 million Procter & Gamble Co. committed last year to tout its products on Viacom Inc.'s CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon and other television outlets.
Neither Disney nor OMD would give a breakdown of how the money will be spent. Mike Shaw, president of sales and marketing for ABC Television Network, said the deal includes a commitment for spending, but does not specify how much will be allocated to ABC, ESPN or cable channels Disney partly owns, such as Lifetime and the A&E; networks.
Some of the money coming from OMD clients is included in the $1.7 billion in ad inventory ABC recently sold in the "upfront" market, Mr. Shaw said.
The deal runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2003.
"I think both parties were eager to get a deal done for a variety of reasons," said Jack Myers, chief economist of the Myers Report, a media industry newsletter.
"OMD to validate the clout of large deals and Disney to show they are still a big player who can compete with the big boys for cross-media deals," Mr. Myers said.
In return for its advance-advertising purchase, OMD received discounts from the prices ABC was able to command during the recent upfront sales, according to an industry observer.
"At $1 billion, I'm sure there were some significant market advantages for both sides," Mr. Myers said.
Disney recently announced a deal with Home Depot in which the home improvement retailer would spend $100 million over three years across Disney's television networks.

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