Summit sees Perris slam 'introspective' media owners

Summit sees Perris slam 'introspective' media owners

Perris: "poor interface with customers"

Media owners are "introspective" and poor at communicating with their agency clients, according to Zenith Optimedia Group chief executive John Perris.

The top 50 European owners have a "poor interface with customers" in his analysis of the major players' performances in recent years, he said at this week's European Media & Entertainment Summit.

"I haven't seen the CEO or the sales or marketing director of any of the top 50 in the last four years - with a few exceptions. If Zenith hadn't seen its customers in that time, we'd lose them," he said.

Perris also said the media owners were lagging behind the agencies in globalizing their businesses - the major theme of the Dow Jones conference.

"Advertisers and media agencies are now global, which means their best practices are drawn from around the world. And we're good at listening to our customers and changing our businesses accordingly," he said.

Perris said consolidation, globalization and the internet have been the most significant influences on the major owners.

However, only 10 of the top 50 earned 30% of their ad revenues outside their home in country in 2000, compared with eight in 1997.

Perris said the best mergers come from companies expanding within the same, or similar, markets and territories and illustrated this with some examples. Bertelesman's merger with CLT was safe, he said, as were those that created the current Johnston Press, JCDecaux and Trinity Mirror. However, the mergers involving Vivendi, Emap and Kirch were "risky".

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