In a year that saw TV advertising revenue increase by just 2%, Viacom Brand Solutions punched well above its weight, increasing revenue by 19% and market share by 16%. These figures are impressive given the fact that overall share of audience increased by just 4%.
Over the year, VBS increased the number of brands it works with from 3,250 to 3,388, a 4.3% increase, with each of its divisions contributing to growth - partnership grew 23%, spot 15% and online 200%.
The fact that VBS managed to entice brands to advertise on its channels for the first time is testament to the calibre of its investment division. Brands including Skoda, Navman, Nikon and Primelocation made their VBS channel debuts.
VBS also launched a six-month research project called Digital Drive that saw state-of-the-art technology installed in 15 homes to predict consumer media behaviour. Panellists' comments were recorded on www.digitaldrive.tv and 10 brands signed up to test advertising concepts.
Meanwhile, the VBS partnership team brought in new business including Disneyland Paris, Thorpe Park, Colgate, Ben Sherman, Kodak, Vauxhall, Nivea Sun, NatWest and Weetabix. Client retention was a strong point - 90% of revenue generation in 2007/08 was through repeat business.
Ethics played a role in bringing in new business through the launch of an initiative devised to bring more ethically sound brands onto TV called Force for Good. The venture has generated more than £500,000 in incremental revenue growth through advertisers such as Good Natured, Kidsnax, Leap Frog and the Metropolitan Police.
Force for Good saw VBS get its staff working on a campaign to reduce knife crime, which culminated in presentations made at its 2008 sales conference. Two shortlisted teams went forward to present their ideas at the Home Office, COI, Carat and Manning Gottlieb OMD.
VBS's 70-strong team has remained constant year on year, but the firm has put a "three into one" structure in place that merged its online and mobile teams with its airtime investment team. The aim was to make it easier to respond to briefs and to work with agencies in a unified fashion.
Guardian News & Media