Weber Shandwick Tops Holmes Report Global Rankings 2010
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Weber Shandwick Tops Holmes Report Global Rankings 2010

Three giant agencies are battling for the title of world’s largest public relations firm, with Weber Shandwick topping The Holmes Report’s Global Rankings for 2010, just ahead of Fleishman-Hillard and Edelman.

Arun Sudhaman

The rankings of the world’s 250 biggest PR firms are the result of industry research and analysis compiled during the course of this year, looking at fee income figures for 2009. The report also estimates the size of the global PR consultancy industry at $8 billion, marking a 7.5 percent drop last year


You can download a complete list of The Holmes Report Global Rankings 2010 – the largest PR firms in the world – here

You can download a PDF of this at-a-glance infographic, based on our research findings and rankings, by clicking the image above.

At the very top of the rankings, there is little to choose between Weber Shandwick, Fleishman-Hillard and Edelman, any one of which can make a credible claim on the top spot in these rankings. All three have revenues of close to half a billion dollars and all three appear to have outperformed the industry as a whole last year, although the steep decline in Omnicom’s PR revenues makes it likely that Fleishman had the most difficult year of the three, since it accounts for about half of the parent company’s PR revenues.

[For a full methodology, including how fee incomes were estimated for Sarbanes-Oxley agenices, click here]

But more dramatic moves occurred in the pack of agencies chasing these three leaders. MS&L just squeaked into the top 10 the last time we conducted these rankings. But the consolidation of all of Publicis Groupe’s PR operations—including French powerhouse Publicis Consultants, which ranked at number 13 in our last ranking; London’s Freud Communications; and New York corporate and financial specialist Kekst and Company—has lifted the firm into the top five.

Similarly, Ketchum’s merger with Omnicom sister agency Pleon — already a top three player in the EMEA region—elevated the firm into the pack of four agencies chasing the top three. (At the same time, it knocked Brodeur, which had been affiliated with Pleon, down the rankings.)

Finally, the restructuring of Huntsworth’s public relations operations led to a merger between its Grayling, Trimedia, and Mmd operations, all listed separately last year.

The most important conclusion of all of this research is that public relations is a substantial global industry, generating at least $8 billion in fee income for consulting firms around the world in 2009, employing close to 55,000 people, and generating approximately $150,000 in fee income per employee. We also estimate that the industry shrunk by about 7.5 percent last year.

The Global Rankings 2010 report also includes:
– rankings of the top 250 PR consultancies in the world
– regional rankings for North America, UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific;
– a comprehensive survey of more than 320 agency leaders worldwide about the key trends and issues at play in their markets; and
– profiles of 24 global agency networks

We will be running online coverage of each of these areas every day this week. Full, detailed analysis of all of the rankings, research, trends and issues is available in the print version of the report.

To receive a copy of The Holmes Report Global Rankings 2010 please contact [email protected]

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