NEW YORK—Omnicom Group, parent company of multinational public relations agencies Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli—as well as several smaller and specialist PR firms—has reported a decline in PR revenues of more than 10 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Most rival firms, including those owned by Interpublic and WPP said they believed Omnicom was underperforming the rest of the PR market by a significant margin, although neither of the other giant holding companies has yet reported its fourth quarter numbers.
After a strong first half of 2008, which saw a better than 5 percent increase in PR revenues, the sharp drop in fourth quarter earnings meant that PR revenues for the year were down by about 0.5 percent to around $1.3 billion.
During an earnings call last week, Omnicom chief financial officer Randall Weisenburger said PR was “continuing to experience general softness.” Somewhat surprisingly, public relations underperformed the company’s advertising business, which saw its revenues decline by 7.6 percent during fourth quarter.
Overall, the Group’s revenues for the year increased by 5.2 per cent, and the company announced profits of about $1 billion on revenues of $13.36 billion.