PR Sector Leads the Way as WPP Reports Steady Growth
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PR Sector Leads the Way as WPP Reports Steady Growth

Public relations and public affairs once again led the way, with revenues in constant currency terms up by 15 percent, as WPP reported strong results for the first half of 2007, with profits up by 2.9 percent—the group’s sixth straight profit increase.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK—Public relations and public affairs once again led the way, with revenues in constant currency terms up by 15 percent, as WPP reported strong results for the first half of 2007, with profits up by 2.9 percent—the group’s sixth straight profit increase—and like-for-like revenues up 5.3 percent, boosted by acquisitions in China and India and faster growth in the U.S.

WPP is the parent of international public relations firms Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, GCI Group, Hill & Knowlton, and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, as well as several smaller specialist public relations, investor relations and public affairs firms. The company said the growth reflected the positive impact of social networking on the web, “which demonstrates the increased effectiveness of editorial publicity over paid for publicity.”

Overall, more than Over 53 percent of the group’s revenues came from outside advertising and media investment management in the first half of 2007, despite some weakness in the media and marketing research sector. Growth in all regions improved, but the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East were the fastest growing regions, with revenues up almost 12 percent.

According to chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, “The group’s performance in the first half of the year mirrored the continuing good economic conditions. Western Europe improved, although the U.K. remains relatively weak.” He said 2008 should be a “bumper” year, with growth driven by the Beijing Olympics and U.S. political spending before the Presidential election.

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