Industry Analysis: Growth Returns and Edelman Surges in 1H 2010
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Industry Analysis: Growth Returns and Edelman Surges in 1H 2010

A comparison of the PR revenue results of the key holding groups reveals that Edelman comfortably outperformed its rivals in the first half of 2010, a period where most networks saw a return to growth.

Paul Holmes

By Arun Sudhaman

GLOBAL: A comparison of the PR revenue results of the key holding groups reveals that Edelman comfortably outperformed its rivals in the first half of 2010, a period where most networks saw a return to growth.

The graph below, produced in conjunction with chartered accountant and chief executive of PR distribution specialist RealWire Adam Parker, offers a useful way of illustrating how PR operations at the key holding groups performed over the past three halves. While its rivals grew their PR income by low single digit percentage points in the first half of this year, Edelman surged by 16 per cent.

[* Chime's figures are not like-for-like. Interpublic figures are for CMG division, which includes PR and event marketing. Edelman's figures based on submitted financials.]

Compared to WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic Group, Edelman’s growth clearly comes off a smaller base. Yet it remains significant, and there is little to suggest that the bulk of its rivals at an agency level have seen a comparable upturn.

Last year’s star perfomer Chime Communications, which delivered a 2009 performance of impressive growth, cooled down somewhat to five per cent in 1H 2010, although it should be noted that this is the only figure which is not reported on a like-for-like basis.

Huntsworth Group, meanwhile, saw its PR revenues contract two per cent in the first half of this year. This differs from the headline Huntsworth figure of 13.7 per cent growth because only PR brands Grayling, Red Consultancy and Citigate Dewe Rogerson – and not Huntsworth Health – are included. This is consistent with the other holding groups, which do not include healthcare marcomms within PR revenues.

In addition, the figure of two per cent is a like-for-like one that excludes currency fluctuations and acquisitions/disposals. On this basis, Huntsworth’s overall revenues grew by 0.4 per cent in the first half of 2010.

A better understanding of Huntsworth’s figures can be gleaned from within its interim report, which states that Citigate and Red grew their revenues this year. However, Grayling – which accounts for approximately two thirds of PR revenue – dropped by almost five per cent, no doubt a result of the brand rationalisation that combined three agencies into one at the beginning of this year.

It is also worth noting that Huntsworth is predicting overall revenue growth of more than seven per cent for 2010, and already has 89 per cent of the year’s revenues committed. So, a strong second half can be forecast.

Judging from the results of the other groups, it is probably safe to conclude that the global PR market is growing in the low single digits for the year so far. Accordingly, Edelman puts its success down to aggressive acquisition of market share.

Using reported figures from the 2009 calendar year, meanwhile, it is possible to calculate that the global PR market accounted for by these six groups is worth almost $4 billion. Bear in mind that some important players, such as Publicis Groupe, Havas, and Next Fifteen are not included. The first two do not break out PR, while Next Fifteen reports on a different schedule.

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