Is the end near for big regional media buys?

Turner is the latest media group to restructure its Asia Pacific operation with a more localised focus - how does that reflect on regional media budgets?

Starcom's regional executive director strategic operations and trading Bharad Ramesh said regional budgets are definitely shrinking in favour of local ones.

"These days most clients have a budget separately for their individual markets."

Ramesh said while media budgets for pay TV are still growing, clients are finding it hard to justify regional budgets for TV and print, as they find it more effective to go deeper into each local market.

"The only places where regional budgets are still going are on digital media platforms such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. The days of big regional budgets are mostly over," he said.

Turner's restructure in Asia Pacific, according to president and managing director Steve Marcopoto (pictured), completes a process that began last year to optimise the operating and financial performance of its core business.

Reporting to Marcopoto will now be Siddharth Jain, managing director of South Asia, Yew Ming Lau, managing director of North Asia, Sunny Saha, managing director of Southeast Asia Pacific, and Phil Nelson, vice president of business development.

A number of positions across the region had been eliminated as a result.

Despite the cut of pan-regional staff, a spokesperson of Turner said Hong Kong is the regional headquarter and there are certain pan-regional positions remain.

"They imply a more streamlined focus," the spokesperson said.

Cecilia Chan, managing director of Mediacom Hong Kong, said there are still plenty of sub-regional buys, particularly across Hong Kong and China, as marketers continues to look to build business in the mainland.

Signs of international media owners going local in Asia Pacific include Fox International, which has been building local sales offices and The Economist, which has managing director Tim Pinnegar took on its regional sales director role after Rob Ferguson left in September.