Diana Marszalek 27 Apr 2018 // 4:34PM GMT
NEW YORK—Interpublic’s public relations agencies' revenue on an organic basis dipped slightly during the first quarter of 2018, making it the fourth consecutive quarter of decline.
Q1 revenues rose by low single digits on a reported basis, however.
The report comes after a tough 2017 for the agencies —which include Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries, Current Marketing and more.
While Interpublic's PR firms have consistently outperformed the market in recent years, PR revenues from the group's CMG were down for the last three consecutive quarters of 2017, and the year as a whole amid the economic turbulence that gripped the marketing communications sector last year.
According to Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky, Weber Shandwick's Q1 revenues mirrored those of the group, down slightly on an organic basis but up by low single digits as reported, with the difference between the two figures due to fluctuations in foreign currency.
Polansky noted that Weber Shandwick and Golin are on an upswing, which he expects to be reflected in subsequent earnings reports as new clients are brought on board.
"From an overall perspective, the tone of the business has certainly improved," he said. Polansky said he is "cautiously optimistic" that Weber Shandwick and Golin in particular will experience growth this year resulting from a "significant increase" in new business and growth with key clients.
He noted that during the three months ending March 31 Weber Shandwick "saw particularly strong performance" in Europe and in a number of markets in Asia. The firm's North American operation is starting to see a pickup, he said.
There was double-digit growth for Weber Shandwick in 10 markets including India and Mexico, as well as others in Southeast Asia and Africa, Polansky said. Healthcare and technology have been big drivers of the overall growth, he said.