It’s never easy when two movie studios merge and only one media planning and buying agency will take over for both labels’ combined films and home entertainment. That’s what happened because Lionsgate took over Summit Entertainment and this September decided to cut costs. That merger took place almost a year ago but it’s taken all this time for them to conduct what was described to me as “a very exhaustive process” to choose agencies for movies like the upcoming Hunger Games 2. And now the winner is Mindshare, the global media network with nearly 6,000 people in 82 countries which had been handling Summit’s biz. (Mindshare is part of GroupM, which oversees the media investment management sector for WPP, which calls itself the world’s leading communications services group.) Loser is Initiative, which had been hiring Lionsgate’s biz. “There’s no loser. The company wins out,” a Lionsgate insider told me, trying to soften the blow. Because this change represents between $275 million to $300 million worth of business to the victor for Lionsgate/Summit’s 15 movies and home entertainment releases by Lionsgate, Summit, Roadside Attractions and Pantelion Films. Also losing is a third agency that was in the first round: Bill Konigsberg’s Horizon. I’m told that Lionsgate did an RFP (Request For Proposal) to all three agencies with Lionsgate’s and Summit’s marketing and finance teams involved led by the two studios’ SVPs of media strategies – Lionsgate’s Erika Schimik and Summit’s Gail Heaney - as well as Lionsgate’s combined movie czar Rob Friedman, formerly the co-head of Summit. Then the choice was narrowed to Initiative and Mindshare which I’m told won in the end because of “economics”. Now there’ll be a transition as all the Lionsgate/Summit fare heads to Mindshare. Here’s the press release:

 

SANTA MONICA, CA February 19, 2013 – In a move to generate significant cost savings by consolidating media buying for its Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment film labels in a single agency, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has selected Mindshare as its media planning and buying agency of record, it was announced today by Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger. Mindshare’s office in Santa Monica, CA, will handle media planning and buying activities for theatrical features as well as all home entertainment releases by Lionsgate, Summit, Roadside Attractions and Pantelion Films.

“By combining our media related services in one company, Lionsgate will immediately see significant savings which will impact the studio’s bottom line, achieve economies of scale that can be leveraged across our feature film entities and allow us additional resources to market and distribute our films in North America,” said Friedman and Wachsberger. “In addition to significant cost savings, this move reflects a fresh strategic approach to media buying for our feature film and home entertainment slates. Mindshare has a great track record in its field and we look forward to ramping up our efforts with them in support of our 2013 slate and beyond. It was a tough decision as all of the candidates in the mix presented great opportunity for us, but in the end Mindshare met the needs of the studio in a manner that we believe will best serve our interests.”

“We’re delighted to partner with Lionsgate and Summit on one of the most commercially exciting feature film slates in the world,” said Mindshare North American CEO Antony Young. “Lionsgate has established a worldwide reputation as an innovator in the kinds of films it releases and the strategies it uses to market and distribute them, and we look forward to developing visionary and cost-effective media planning and buying strategies that reflect the Company’s entrepreneurial and game-changing spirit.”

Lionsgate began its media buying agency review process this past September following the integration of Summit Entertainment into the Lionsgate family. Lionsgate and Summit originally used two different agencies but decided to combine all activities under one agency’s purview to increase efficiencies and cost savings. Three agencies were invited to present their services, including the two incumbents, Initiative Media and Mindshare, and Horizon Media.

Upcoming films from the Company’s slate include Lionsgate’s THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA’S CHRISTMAS and Summit Entertainment’s RED 2 and ENDER’S GAME.