Spotify, the online music service, has emerged from the IPA Online Media Owner survey in pole position with an 83.5% score beating four-year winner Specific Media that has held first place since 2008.
More than one in five respondents to the survey, now in its fifth year, agreed or agreed strongly that "my overall experience of dealing with this supplier is a good one".
My overall experience of dealing with this supplier is a good one, spring 2012
What makes it even more of an achievement for the company is that this is its debut appearance in the survey.
Specific actually slipped to fourth place in the survey, which uncovered overall service levels were improving and becoming more competitive. Seven media owners achieved scores in excess of 70% for this category, compared to five in the autumn 2011 survey.
Tribal Fusion took second place with an overall score of 78.2%, followed by AOL (77.5%), Specific Media (76.6%), Adjug (73.1%), Glam Media (72.4%) and the Telegraph (70.5%). Adjug and Glam Media also made their debuts in the survey.
Tribal Fusion was also the overall winner among ad networks, exchanges and sales houses while Spotify lead the online pure play sector with AOL in second place. Telegraph.co.uk took over leadership from IPC in the cross-over media sector.
The media owner demonstrates a good understanding of how cross-media opportunities can be exploited, spring 2012
Pete Robins, IPA Digital Media Group chairman and managing partner at digital agency Agenda 21, said: "These are a very strong set of survey results from an increasingly competitive field.
"Full marks to Spotify for topping the survey on their first appearance, but what I am probably most pleased about is the general improvement in satisfaction levels.
"It can only be a good thing for agencies that the number of media owners achieving +70% scores for a good overall experience has risen from five to seven since the last survey in autumn 2011."
The media owner delivers innovative, creative solutions, spring 2012
According to the IPA survey, Sky Digital Media was the most improved media owner since last autumn's survey (up by 10.6 percentage points). A further five media owners have improved their score in the best overall category by five percentage points or more.
The survey will come as a shock to IPC Media, which has seen its score decline by 11.2 percentage points since the autumn.
Year on year, Microsoft was the most improved media owner, up 20.7 percentage points from its low point of 36% in the spring 2011 survey. Tribal Fusion improved by 17.9 percentage points and AOL by 15.9.
In addition to leading the overall survey attribute, Spotify leads in three other areas – quality of response to brief, understanding of own products, and delivery of innovative creative solutions.
AOL leads in the survey in four areas (dispute resolution, ease of contact, client/media agency partnership and mid campaign support) and Tribal Fusion forged ahead in two areas (understanding of client objectives and post campaign support).
The quality of responses to brief are high, spring 2012
Glam Media took pole position in one area (communication of contact with client) as does Facebook (proactivity) and Specific Media (regular contact).
Both IPC and The Guardian have seen declines of 10 percentage points or more in four survey areas, Channel4.com and Bauer in three areas and Yahoo in two.
In relation to the exploitation of crossover media opportunities Channel4.com have seen their score decline by 18 percentage points year on year to below 30%.
Nigel Gwilliam, head of digital at the IPA, said: "The Spring 2012 survey is ringing in the changes with a new leader, a more competitive leading set and a number of resurgent online media owners.
"Spotify will rightly get the headlines but special mention should also go to other newcomers Adjug and Glam Media who are both in the top seven overall.
"It's also great to see that Tribal Fusion and the Telegraph are both leading their fields. AOL is the most consistently improved performer and that Microsoft and Sky have both turned around their performances."
The sales team understand my objectives, spring 2012
The survey is released in advance of the 2012 IPA Online Media Owner Awards, which will be held in November and is now open for entries.