Q3 Results: Interpublic PR Firms Again Outperform Rivals
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Q3 Results: Interpublic PR Firms Again Outperform Rivals

Interpublic Group, which owns PR agencies Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris and DeVries, has reported Q3 PR revenue growth of 10.8 percent.

Arun Sudhaman

NEW YORK--Interpublic Group, which owns PR agencies Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris and DeVries, has again outperformed its peers among listed companies, reporting Q3 PR revenue growth of 10.8 percent.

For the first nine months of the year, IPG’s PR firms grew by 8.8 percent on an organic basis. By comparison, WPP’s Q3 public relations revenue increased by 6.1 percent on a like-for-like basis, and 5.4 percent for the year-to-date. Publicis Groupe, meanwhile, saw revenues at flagship PR network MSLGroup improve by 6.5 percent in the third quarter of this year.

Omnicom, home to Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Porter-Novelli, again lagged its rivals - increasing Q3 PR revenues by 4.2 percent, resulting in a 2.4 percent improvement for the first nine months of the year.

IPG’s results come after it submitted a similarly strong showing during the first half of the year. Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick and IPG’s CMG division, put the performance down to balanced geographic growth, and a strong new business haul that has included such wins as Fisher-Price and Kellogg at Weber Shandwick.

Diamond also noted that there was “no sign of a slowdown in the US” and added that “we are seeing truly dramatic incremental gains in the social media space.”

“We do a lot of social media in Asia, less in Europe, but the US is very strong right now,” he said. “They are coming from incremental budgets, not necessarily different budgets. We’re seeing much more willingness on the brand leader and CMO side to look at it as part and parcel of an area where we are believed to be in lead status.”

In addition to consumer marketing, Diamond pointed to growth in healthcare, and said that technology and corporate had remained resilient. Government activity, he added, “continues to be a great business to be in.”

Diamond also remained relatively upbeat about the year ahead, despite continued economic uncertainty. “We’re not seeing the parallels with 2008. There seems to be a lot of confidence on our clients’ side and a lot of interest in how we extend reach in social media, and a lot of demand for traditional services.”

In his trading update, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell said that prospects for 2012 "do not look dire." 

We remain of the view that 2012 will not be the really challenging year," said Sorrell. "The rubber is really likely to meet the road, however, after the US presidential election in late 2012 and into 2013, when a newly elected American president will finally have to deal with the US deficit. We remain attracted to the 'LUV' analogy, with an increasing emphasis on the 'L' indicating the long slog in Western markets, in particular." 

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