Most of the major advertising holding companies — like WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, IPG, Dentsu Aegis Network and Havas — posted little to no growth in 2017, AdExchanger reports.

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Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Our thought bubble: Ad agencies, which bill a significant amount of their time to digital services, are facing the same pain on the media buying side as publishers are on the selling side. Tech has gobbled up the once-lucrative margins from traditional advertising, like print and TV, on all sides.

The pain points:

  1. The decline in ad spending in the consumer package goods category, one of the more traditionally steady ad spend verticals.
  2. The rise of digital practices in consulting firms, like Accenture and PwC, which attributed to strains on the traditional agency model.
  3. The fall of the traditional "agency of record" model, as a result of bringing programmatic and digital teams in-house.

The bright side:

  • Ad spending cuts can be cyclical, and clients reenergize their ad budgets to boost spending again once the market strengthens.
  • Training and consulting opportunities exist for agencies to help clients set up in-house digital shops.
  • An emphasis on brand safety this year will force clients to think more strategically about high-impact, custom executions that tend to be the specialty of traditional agencies. (See item #7.)

Go deeper

Grand jury indicts ex-officer who shot Breonna Taylor on wanton endangerment

A memorial to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Sept. 23. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March and shot her at least eight times, on three counts of wanton endangerment.

The state of play: None of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid will face charges related to the actual death of Taylor, such as homicide or manslaughter. Two officers were not charged at all. Hankison's bond was set at $15,000.

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

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