Arun Sudhaman 17 Oct 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
LONDON--Next Fifteen has reported strong revenue and profit growth for its recently-concluded fiscal year, and launched a new mobile marketing firm.
The group, which owns Text 100, Bite Communications, M Booth, OutCast and Lexis PR, saw revenues increase by 11 percent, on a like-for-like basis, to £86m, and profit before tax improve by 42 percent to £7.5m.
Next Fifteen chairman Richard Eyre put the performance down to the group's enhanced digital capabilities."The group has achieved record revenues and profits underpinned by its early transition to digital services in its PR businesses. Digital is giving the group access to new revenue streams and helping to deliver strong growth in North America and Asia."
As an example, Eyre pointed to Beyond, a 'pure-play' digital firm launched last year, which has has already reached a "revenue run rate of over $8m per annum."
Technology PR, which represents 69 percent of revenue, grew by nine percent, while the consumer division improved by 12 percent to account for 19 percent of total revenues. Corporate and digital, which each now account for six percent of revenue, both doubled in size.
The new mobile marketing firm is headed by Hugo Brailsford, who previously headed mobile and telecoms at Weber Shandwick UK.
Brailsford told the Holmes Report that the agency will attempt to combine mobile, digital and research expertise, capabilities that are already being offered to Nokia, which Next Fifteen won earlier this year.
“What I’m trying to focus on is bringing their broader consumer story to life,” said Brailsford of Nokia.
As well as the personal specialist experience of the individual consultants in the business, insight will be driven from Animo’s mobile audience research panel, which consists of 25,000 people. The launch reflects the rising importance of mobile channels and devices to the public relations industry. Half of all new internet connections come from mobile devices, and more smartphones and tablets are now being sold than PCs.
Animo’s launch is the latest Next Fifteen investment in digital, after several acquisitions over the past 18 months. Including these, the group's revenues rose by 19 percent. In this financial year, Next Fifteen has already acquired German firm Trademark, and will continue to focus on "selective acquisitions of specialist agencies."
"Next Fifteen has always invested in specialist expertise and in fast growing market sectors,” said Next Fifteen CEO Tim Dyson. “Given mobile is increasingly changing the way we think about and engage with the world around us, the time is right for Animo and its combination of in-depth mobile industry knowledge, audience insight research expertise and digital execution and engagement skills.”
Brailsford pointed to three potential clusters of clients for the firm: mobile brands; companies that are already mobile-savvy; and, “mainstream businesses and brands that need to think about what their audience looks like through mobile.”