Global consulting group Accenture is to close its media auditing arm, Accenture Media Management, by the end of August, amid claims of a potential conflict of interest with the group's digital advertising business, Accenture Interactive.
The Media Management business audits $40bn of media annually and spends $5bn a year on proprietary tools for media research. In the past few years, Accenture has acquired several media-focussed agencies, including Droga5 and digital media services company Adaptly; and two years ago, the group launched an in-house programmatic media planning and buying unit. At the time, the group faced claims of 'conflict of interest', with ad agencies unhappy at the prospect of Accenture Interactive moving into media buying, when a sister business was able to access confidential client and agency media data and financial information - such as information on media prices, effectiveness and specific media bought for a client.
In a statement, an Accenture spokesperson confirmed that the company had decided to 'ramp down' the area of the business that performs media auditing, benchmarking and agency pitch services. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) welcomed this news, with Director General Paul Bainsfair commenting: 'We informed Accenture in 2018 that carrying out performance audits of media agencies whilst simultaneously competing with them to provide programmatic ad services to clients, seemed to present a clear conflict of interest and loss of impartiality.
'While this latest development is positive, the problem of media auditing best practice is not confined to Accenture. We think this might be a good opportunity to revisit the introduction of a Media Auditor Code of Conduct.'
Web site: www.accenture.com .
All articles 2006-20 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.