Bender/Helper Impact: Agency Business Report 2011

Headcount fell to 60 from 68 in 2009. Staff turnover was 17%. Two senior staffers departed - Matt Meeks, director of B/HI Buzz, and Sarah Gumina, VP and head of the Fox Home Entertainment account.

Principals: Lee Helper, partner and president; Dean Bender, partner (r)
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York and LA

Staff
Headcount fell to 60 from 68 in 2009. Staff turnover was 17%. Two senior staffers departed – Matt Meeks, director of B/HI Buzz, and Sarah Gumina, VP and head of the Fox Home Entertainment account.
 
Practice areas
There are six: interactive entertainment, digital entertainment, consumer products, entertainment technology, entertainment content, and social media.
 
Accounts
Key wins included AuditionBooth, Break Media, Digital Artists, The Hub, Sony Online Entertainment, and THQ. Losses were Fox Home Entertainment, Majesco Entertainment, and Scholastic Media.
 
Financial performance
The firm ended 2010 with slightly more than $6 million in revenue, down 25% from 2009, mainly due to some key account losses.
 
Analysis
Despite a difficult year, partner Dean Bender is optimistic his firm's pared-down 2010 strategy in response to a struggling economy will pay off.
 
"It was much more laser-focused in 2010," he explains. "That was a challenge because once you have a collaborative relationship with a client you want to do as much as you can, but because of their limited budgets, it required more focus on primary objectives."
 
Much success can be attributed to the firm's B/HI Buzz social media practice, which launched in 2009. The division opened up opportunities to sign on new clients that might not have considered them before, such as Hulu and Break Media.

Though the firm lost Fox Home Entertainment at the end of 2010, ending a 17-year relationship, Bender says The Hub children's network win and a very promising Q1 2011 will help offset the loss.

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