TOP 50: HI-TECH PR - Pick and mix - The ’traditional’ hi-tech PR sector has changed beyond recognition. The new media boom has prompted many agencies to return to offering a more specialised service

The idea that hi-tech PR could be seen as ’traditional’ may be an oxymoron, but 1999 will be remembered as the year when the definition of hi-tech, well, lost its definition.

The idea that hi-tech PR could be seen as ’traditional’ may be an

oxymoron, but 1999 will be remembered as the year when the definition of

hi-tech, well, lost its definition.



Hi-tech PR benefited the most from the the year of the dot.com, although

there was debate over whether the sector was best placed to

fully-service the new breed of businesses. The need for corporate,

financial and consumer expertise meant that some hi-tech specialist

agencies expanded their remit, and others decided that new media was not

for them.



Larger agencies also had to make a decision about which division, or

divisions, were responsible for dot.coms. Dedicated new media divisions

sprung up at a number of agencies, while others include dot.com income

within their hi-tech divisions. As a result, the hi-tech income quoted

in the league is a combination of hi-tech and dot.com, although the

tables show the proportion of income which is derived from dot.com

work.



Already this year there has been consolidation in the industry, as

larger agencies buy in hi-tech expertise to meet the demands of a

booming market: Chime has bought Harvard and Insight Marketing, while

Band and Brown acquired Larkspur.



’Few dot.coms are technology companies,’ says Chris Lewis, president and

CEO of consumer technology specialist Lewis. ’They are merely on-line

shops or services. IT agencies should be wary of taking on too many of

these campaigns as they can often lie outside their core

competencies.’



At Miller Shandwick, its burgeoning dot.com business meant that the

agency had to broaden its skills set. The influx of dot.com clients

helped turn in a 13 per cent increase in fee income. Director Suzanne

O’Leary says: ’During 1999 we morphed into new areas following an influx

of non-traditional IT companies. Dot.com start-ups wanted to launch as

fast as possible, so the time taken to market the product was

shorter.’



A welcome by-product of the dot.com boom was that many agencies were in

a position to cherry pick their clients.



Gill Coomber, board director at Grant Butler Coomber says: ’It was the

first time in my experience where you could sit and choose your

clients.



But there was a naivety in the market and some dot.coms were misled by

inexperienced agencies over what could be reasonably expected.’



This spring, a number of established companies were edged out of the

FTSE 100 in favour of new media companies. This was closely followed by

media speculation that the dot.com bubble was close to bursting as the

stock market fell. Blame was laid at the door of dot.coms, such as

Lastminute.com, which raised their share prices to unsustainable levels

prior to flotation.



As for the future, the next round of dot.com launches is likely to be

very different from the first. According to Firefly director Mark

Mellor, established high street names have yet to fully exploit on-line.

’There is room in the market for strong players,’ says Mellor. ’However,

the same rules apply to on-line as anywhere else, you must have a viable

business model.’



’We’ll be seeing many more traditional names coming on-line,’ agrees

Coomber, whose on-line clients include WH Smith. Coomber believes that

the high street retailer’s long heritage will take some of the weaker

competition out of the market.



Much of the attention over the past year has focused on the shop face -

building web sites. This is particularly true of the small business

community which has become increasingly web-literate. Astonishingly,

only three per cent of all small UK companies last year had any web

presence and this is changing daily.



Large organisations, on the other hand, will devote more of their IT

spend and energy to developing web sites that interact personally with

the individual customer. It seems increasingly likely that the future of

dot.coms as a commercial enterprise lies in the business-to-business

sector, which has not been nearly as exploited as the

business-to-consumer side of the market so far.



Web personalisation, or Customer Relationship Management, to use the

industry jargon, will also be supported by the development and

application of technology that makes web sites work faster - everyone

knows how frustrating it is waiting for information to download.



Last year the top ten hi-tech agencies had total hi-tech and dot.com

fees worth more than pounds 49.5 million compared with pounds 38.2

million in 1998, an increase of 30 per cent. Outside the top ten,

fortunes were more mixed, which suggests that despite the enormous

amount of work from the new media sector, this has not yet had an impact

on income.



Agencies such as Beattie Media, Banner PR and GCI UK experienced

tremendous growth, while others, such as Kaizo and Ketchum experienced

drops in fee income. While the reason for dips in fee income will differ

from agency to agency, Banner director Robert Hollier believes agencies

which take a more generalist approach to hi-tech PR will be

punished.



’The technology market is very broad and we are entering a phase of

increasing specialisation, which has already happened in the US. Clients

don’t just want you to understand technology, they want you to

understand their technology and for that you need to have a track record

and relevant experience.’



Text 100 had a busy year but it lost its place at the top of the table

to Shandwick, as the full service giant’s hi-tech and dot.com income

grew to 31 per cent of fees. Text is still far and away the biggest pure

hi-tech agency in the league, however. Last summer the agency spun off

August.One Communications into an 80-strong PR consultancy. And in

December, Text 100 successfully floated on the London Stock

Exchange.



Text 100’s managing director, Glen Goldsmith, says he expects the

wireless market will continue to expand as new technologies and sexier

software applications are introduced. Standards such as Wireless

Application Protocol (WAP) and Bluetooth, which enables mobile phones

with the same chip to communicate with each other, are already having an

impact on work in this sector.



’I’m sure it won’t be long before the majority of people are using their

mobile phones in underground stations. Clients in the wireless sector

are already increasing their PR spend in a bid to capture market share,

both in the business and consumer markets,’ says Goldsmith.



In the business arena, now that the Y2K bug is out of the way, companies

are starting to refocus their IT budgets on improving the speed and

efficiency of their networks and e-commerce infrastructures. This could

lead to greater emphasis on improving information-sharing and knowledge

management among employees and stakeholders, particularly among the

large corporations who can reduce costs and in some cases gain hundreds

of thousands of pounds in productivity.



In the home, Goldmsith says he expects that the latter part of 2000, and

certainly early 2001, will see the interactive digital TV revolution

take off. More than three million households in the UK have access to

digital TV and this is forecast to rise. Surveys suggest that there will

be over eight million digital subscribers by 2003 and nearly 20 million

by 2008. DVD and the MP3 games platform also made their mark on the

hi-tech sector during 1999.



All this activity means that hi-tech PR is suffering even more acutely

than other sectors from a shortage of talent.



At Text, Goldsmith said the problem became increasingly strained at the

end of 1999: ’It was a case of the industry believing its own hype,’ he

says. ’Head hunters were offering staff positions that were too good to

be true and in many cases were outside their capability and

experience.’



Few can deny hi-tech PR is one of the most exciting and dynamic sectors

in PR, but some in the industry fear that hi-tech PR is in danger of

becoming a victim of its own apparent success.



Lewis says: ’Over the past year, the industry has grown at such a rate

that standards have been allowed to drop. This means that a lot of

clients are being overcharged and under serviced by agencies keen to

cash in on the free-flowing money.’



His solution is likely to be too extreme for most - as well as unlikely

in the foreseeable future. ’The IT PR industry needs a recession to

shake the market out a little,’ he says. ’This should hopefully bring to

an end the high prices and low quality that is currently affecting many

clients,’ he says.



TOP HI-TECH CONSULTANCIES: 1-30

Rnk Company   UK hi-tech % over- Dot.com        UK      %   Total PR Staff

                  income     all       %   hi-tech growth     income

99                    99  income  income    income

                              98                99

1   Shandwick

    Intl*      8,075,190      31       5 5,948,490     36 26,049,000   349

2   Text

    100 1*     7,524,999     100      10 7,729,446     -3  7,524,999   116

3   Firefly

    Communi-

    cations*   5,652,082     100      15 4,020,794     41  5,652,082    93

4   Citigate

    Tech-

    nology     5,314,762      18       7 1,856,431    186 30,026,902   295

5   Brodeur

    World-

    wide*      5,225,370     100       - 4,227,779     24  5,225,370    84

6   Hill and

    Knowlton

    UK*        5,014,999      20       2 3,494,250     44 25,201,000   330

7   Weber PR*  4,053,654      41       7 2,626,269     54  9,886,961   129

8   Edelman

    PR World-

    wide*      3,060,240      34       8 2,858,826      7  9,000,705   100

9   Harvard

    Public

    Relations  2,895,494      63       - 2,798,720      3  4,596,023    61

10  Grant

    Butler

    Coomber*   2,735,290      95      16 1,689,066     62  2,879,253    54

11  Lewis      2,690,606     100       - 1,789,448     50  2,690,606    47

12  AxiCom     2,443,737     100       - 1,572,289     55  2,443,737    50

13  Bite

    Communi-

    cations    2,382,844     100      13 1,333,155     79  2,382,844    43

14  Beattie

    Media      2,360,000      40      15   206,000  1,046  5,900,000    93

15  Ogilvy

    Public

    Relations* 2,342,400      48       - 1,473,550     59  4,880,000    63

16  Kaizo*     2,056,250      88       8 2,616,644    -21  2,350,000    43

17  DPA

    Corporate

    Communi-

    cations    1,972,092     100       - 1,258,750     57  1,972,092    22

18  Profile

    Public

    Relations  1,809,088     100       - 1,219,937     48  1,809,088    28

19  Noiseworks 1,804,029     100       - 1,498,464     20  1,804,029    28

20  Band &

    Brown

    Communi-

    cations    1,796,165      60      60   770,431    133  2,993,608    55

21  Banner

    Public

    Relations  1,781,511     100       - 1,151,260     55  1,781,511    21

22  Charles

    Barker

    BSMG

    Worldwide  1,767,810      18       1 1,540,335     15  9,821,166   108

23  Countrywide

    Porter

    Novelli*   1,711,682       9       - 1,253,883     37 19,018,694   280

24  MacLaurin

    Grp*       1,665,527      43      34   657,068    153  3,873,319    51

25  AD

    Communi-

    cations*   1,601,434     100       - 1,681,013     -5  1,601,434    21

26  The

    Grayling

    Group*     1,565,350      18       2 1,132,670     38  8,794,100   108

27  Strategic

    Alliance   1,506,635     100       - 1,354,670     11  1,506,635    19

28  Company

    Care

    Communi-

    cations*   1,496,484      82      11 1,127,816     33  1,824,981    38

29  GCI UK*    1,483,424      16       2   593,736    150  9,271,400   167

30  Berkeley

    Public

    Relations  1,385,938     100       - 1,391,153      0  1,385,938    28

31  Roger

    Staton

    Assocs*    1,340,751     100       -   938,688     43  1,340,751    14

32  Ketchum*   1,232,907      14       3 1,537,269    -20  8,806,480   143

33  Nelson

    Bostock

    Communi-

    cations*   1,231,822      70      40   535,782    130  1,759,746    30

34  Oast

    Communi-

    cations    1,137,436     100       -   865,135     31  1,137,436    31

35  Burson-

    Mars-

    teller1*   1,102,590       6       -         -      - 18,061,000   152

36  Johnson

    King       1,071,128     100      50   660,419     62  1,071,128    19

37  Portfolio

    Communi-

    cations*   1,011,118      69      11   889,739     14  1,465,389    26

38  Square

    Mile

    Communi-

    cations      927,181      35      10   280,533    231  2,649,088    36

39  Manning

    Selvage &

    Lee*         906,570      21       8   606,900     49  4,317,000    60

40  Herald

    Communi-

    cations*     885,251      68      20   733,828     21  1,301,839    27

41  EML          882,000     100       -   921,162     -4    882,000    21

42  Insight

    Group        864,000     100       -   725,129     19    864,000    20

43  The

    Whiteoaks

    Consult-

    ancy*        813,539      95       3   619,917     31    856,357    19

44  Fodor

    Wyllie       804,715     100      95   634,967     27    804,715    24

45  The Red

    Consult-

    ancy*        803,154      20       2   457,956     75  4,015,769    77

46  Stewart-

    Muir

    Communi-

    cations      796,053     100       -   579,837     37    796,053    13

47  QBO*         793,380      21       5   488,880     62  3,778,000    51

48  Warman &

    Bannister,

    Cambridge*   788,480      77       -   280,805    181  1,024,000    21

49  Fleishman-

    Hillard*     721,486      20       5 1,083,958    -33  3,607,429    61

50  ICAS Public

    Relations*   697,367      28       3   790,074    -12  2,490,596    46



All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 1999



Fee income= PR fees + mark-up *Denotes PRCA member Hi-tech income 1999



includes income from dot.com clients



1 Burson-Marsteller cannot break down 1998 hi-tech income





1 Shandwick pounds 8,075,190



Shandwick took first place in the league table this year, with hi-tech

growth of 36 per cent. ’There was a lot of new media business out there,

not just dot.coms but infrastructure players and financial organisations

too,’ says Kristin Syltevik, MD and head of Shandwick’s European

technology practice group.



New economy wins included wcities.com, an internet-based global city

guide, but a significant level of new business came from established

technology companies. A number of existing clients increased their spend,

including Open TV. The most significant account loss was MCA Worldcom, as

a result of its amalgamation into its parent.



Shandwick established its interactive PR offering, providing on-line PR,

marketing, brand management, and measurement. It also started building a

joint investor relations and technology PR offering, which is being rolled

out this year.



’We saw a growing need for new economy companies to have a joint

programme.



PR agencies are often stepping in at a very early stage in a company’s

development, and they are targeting investor audiences, which is a new

development for the technology industry,’ says Syltevik.



To help drive new economy activities, management consultant Suzanne

O’Leary was hired as a director, and Garry Lockwood also joined as a

director from Brodeur.





2 Text 100 pounds 7,524,999



The figures show that Text 100’s fee income fell by three per cent last

year, but restructuring at the agency makes it difficult to compare

figures like for like. The picture is complicated by the fact that Text

shared its billings with Joe Public Relations for part of 1998. Text 100

created August.One Communications as a spin-off agency last summer to

target a broader range of clients.



Text 100 won a string of high profile new clients, including internet bank

smile.co.uk. In the telecoms sector the agency picked up WAP technology

company Phone.com.



’The sexier side of the business for us is companies that sit behind the

shop front,’ says UK managing director, Glen Goldsmith. ’These tend to be

very strong financially and to have developed tried and trusted technology

for many thousands of customers.’ Two new clients in this sector were web

site personalisation company Art Technology Group, and server software

company Zeus Technology.



Text also listed on the London Stock Exchange in December, seeing its

price rocket from 170p to 520p before the market settled down this

spring.



The agency also moved to new premises in London.





3 Firefly pounds 5,652,082



Firefly’s hi-tech PR income grew by 41 per cent in 1999 as the agency

restructured itself to embrace the new economy. This meant turning down

business from clients that had no sense of what the digital economy could

do for them.



Firefly won several on-line consumer accounts, including Sporting Life,

and search engine AltaVista appointed the agency to co-ordinate a

pan-European PR programme.



Last summer a new office was set up in Glasgow targeting businesses in

Silicon Glen. Existing client Motorola increased its spend with the agency

and ICL gave Firefly more work as it prepared for flotation later this

year.



This February an office was also opened in Paris following a preparatory

period in which French PR programmes were handled from London. Managing

director Claire Walker says Firefly is now working on setting up other

offices in Europe.



Firefly brought in consumer talent and invested heavily in digital media

training for staff. A third generation internet press centre was launched,

as well as an extranet service for clients.





5 Brodeur Worldwide pounds 5,225,370



Fee income at Brodeur rose a healthy 24 per cent in 1999, as the shift

from the old Brodeur A Plus to Brodeur Worldwide started to deliver global

accounts. ’1999 was a seminal year in building the network and building

the brand,’ explains managing director, Stan Woods.



Much of the growth came from existing clients. Nortel Networks doubled its

spend as it repositioned itself as a provider of internet infrastructure,

products and technologies.



A more structured approach was taken to messaging and positioning; media

training was offered to clients and client extranets were developed. The

agency’s design business was also repositioned as an interactive practice,

offering consultancy and implementation. This has helped Brodeur to

develop relationships with small start-up companies.



Brodeur enjoyed success in the smart card sector, picking up Gemplus, the

world’s largest smart card manufacturer, as well as the global

business-to-business account for smart card software developer Mondex

International.



Richard Delevan, formerly head of media relations for BT in the US, was

hired to strengthen the agency’s telecoms expertise.



Ellen Ferrara was recruited from systems integrator EDS where she was

European corporate communications director to help establish an internal

communications practice, while Andrea Burton was appointed to the board

from Kaizo.





7 Weber pounds 4,053,654



Weber won 11 new retained clients in 1999 as fee income increased by 54

per cent. Of these, seven were internet and e-commerce related, the others

from the telecoms sector. ’Most new business growth was achieved in the

second half of the year when the dot.com phenomenon really took hold in

Europe, and the UK particularly,’ says Weber Europe MD Cathy Pittham.



In the summer, Weber set up an internet division, headed by deputy MD Zoe

Arden, to serve the accounts in that sector. Rather than investing in

high-risk start ups, Weber decided to concentrate on companies which were

either undergoing second round funding or moving towards an IPO.



It also focused on ’old economy’ clients undergoing e-transformations.



’One of the biggest changes last year was that business generated in

Europe was being successfully sold to the US on the strength of good work

done in this market,’ says Pittham.



This year the agency plans to launch a separately-branded practice called

Red Whistle, which will target consumer technology and internet

clients.



’This will cater for specialist brands which require dedicated focus on

business-to-consumer audiences,’ says Pittham.





11 Lewis pounds 2,690,606



Technology specialist Lewis grew by 50 per cent during 1999, and CEO Chris

Lewis says this was because the agency had the resources to cope with such

rapid expansion. ’Many agencies turned down a lot more revenue than they

could have taken. We haven’t cut our investment in training over the years

so we had plenty of people to bring on stream.’



Growth was organic from a broad account base of around 60 clients. But

increasing international work from the US and Europe was a major driver of

growth. Wins included e-buisness developer Informix. The development of

web-based services at the agency also had a major impact on fee

income.



Virtual press rooms were created for many clients, giving journalists

instant access to information, and web monitoring and web clippings

services were also set up.



Clive Booth was recruited from Shandwick to spearhead the client services

division, and help grow existing clients, such as internet service

provider Star Internet.



Lewis acknowledges that 1999 is likely to be the last year the agency sees

such dramatic organic growth. He has stated that he is looking to acquire

a financial PR agency, and also to add public affairs to the core hi-tech

offering. There are also plans for a flotation next year, a move that

Lewis believes will aid staff recruitment and retention.





13 Bite Communications pounds 2,382,844



With sparkling fee income growth of 79 per cent, Bite managing director

Clive Armitage describes 1999 as ’Our best year ever’. Indeed the former

Text spin-off climbs up the table eight places.



The agency maintained relations with its string of blue chip clients which

include Apple Computer and BT, while major wins included Thomson Travel’s

Digital Travel Group and project work from Sony Consumer Electronics.



Bite also picked up its fair share of dot.com accounts, including net

engine Lycos and Soccernet.



’A key feature for 1999 was pushing our consumer technology credentials,’

says Armitage, who is keen to keep his agency’s business broad-based.



But the agency also scored some big hits in the business-to-business

arena.



In November, Network Associates, the UK’s second-largest software

supplier, put its brand-building account Bite’s way, which resulted in

some work around the ’Love Bug’ virus earlier this year.



In the autumn, Bite established a separately branded new media division

called Bullet led by James Warren, and opened an office in San Francisco,

headed by Judy Wilks. Bite is planning to launch an Asia Pacific office

within the next 12 months.





14 Beattie Media pounds 2,360,000



In April 1999, Beattie Media hired Amanda Groty from Firefly

Communications to launch and manage a new technology division which agency

founder and CEO Gordon Beattie describes as ’successful beyond my wildest

dreams’.



Over the past 15 months this London-based operation has grown from a staff

of three to 30 and now accounts for around a third of Beattie Media’s

total income. Groty, who became a partner in the business in January,

attributes the success to ’a creative, hard-hitting approach’ and the

expertise of the team. She says: ’We have experience outside IT and are

used to working with journalists on GQ and the Sun, which is what many IT

clients want.’ Last spring, Groty brought in Paula Simmons, formerly with

Hill and Knowlton, to head the business-to-business offering, and Claire

Usher from Attenborough Associates to lead the consumer team. Former Music

Week managing editor Tracey Snell has since joined as director of the new

media division.



Last year, within weeks of Groty’s arrival, Hewlett-Packard awarded the

agency the bulk of its UK consumer and commercial business. This

relationship has gone from strength to strength, with Beattie gaining

further pan-European consumer work covering HP’s data storage and printing

solutions this year.





16 Kaizo pounds 2,056,250



At first glance, Kaizo would appear to have had a disappointing 1999 with

a drop in hi-tech fee income of 21 per cent. Deputy chief executive Ken

Deeks describes last year as one of ’making changes and putting systems in

place to move forward’.



In March, the two PR arms of The Argyll Consultancies - Arrow and Abacus -

merged to create the Kaizo identity.



Another big step came in November, when Argyll joined OFEX, the off-share

matching and trading market. This was to secure future growth through

sustainable revenues, profit growth and employee motivation.



Last year was also about building greater customer focus into the Kaizo

offering. In June, the agency launched a new methodology known as the

Kaizo Value Integrator, to provide clients with a logical step-by-step

approach to communications planning and delivery.



In January this year, this initiative was boosted by the acquisition of

London-based consultancy The Practice. Lesley Daley, former managing

director of The Practice, is now responsible for establishing best

practice within Kaizo and rolling it out to the rest of the company.



During the year, divisional director Andrea Burton left after five years

with the agency to join Brodeur Worldwide, while former Abacus MD Sally

Costerton was made director of Hill and Knowlton’s technology

division.





21 Banner Public Relations pounds 1,781,511



A 55 per cent increase in fee income represented another very good year

for Banner. ’We took a clear decision last year to really focus on

business-to-business and specialise in that,’ says director Robert

Hollier.



This focus helped the agency win a number of new clients, including GE

Global Exchange Services, part of General Electric. Of existing clients

one that grew significantly was software tools company Inprise, which

expanded Banner’s remit from UK to pan-European PR. Losses included

storage manufacturer Exabyte, while a number of other accounts were

resigned because they were deemed too small.



Ted Lelekas was hired from Brodeur as a divisional director. And a new

consultancy service called Interstorm, which uses structured workshops to

help established companies reposition themselves in the new economy, was

introduced. Last autumn Banner was acquired by global advertising network

Young and Rubicam, allowing it to work more closely with sister company

Burson-Marsteller’s technology division in San Francisco.





35 Burson-Marsteller pounds 1,102,590



Last October, Burson-Marsteller set up an e-commerce and new media

division to boost its pure IT offering and deliver new services for

existing clients and attract new business.



European e-commerce and new media practice leader Jonathan Hargreaves

says: ’We are not purely responding to the growth in internet companies

and dot.coms but looking at the broader picture of how our clients fit

into the new economy.’ This has involved working with existing B-M clients

including Johnson and Johnson and Unilever.



On the IT side, the B-M team has also been working to reposition many of

its clients, including telecoms specialists Alcatel and Qualcomm, whose

corporate division handed B-M its mobile telecoms technology account QCT

in 1999.



As a full-service agency, B-M’s IT and new media teams work across the

business. For the coming year, the agency is developing a number of new

media products including ’on-line polling’ - a way of integrating on-line

and off-line PR.





38 Square Mile Communcations pounds 927,181



’1999 was a quite extraordinary year in terms of the effect the IT sector

had on our income and profitability, and our client base,’ says Square

Mile Communications chairman Tim Jackaman.



This is reflected in the rocketing hi-tech fee income growth of 231 per

cent. Square Mile currently has around 160 clients, of which almost a

third are technology, media and telecoms related. Much of this expansion

has come from the activity around dot.com stock and start-up companies

looking for funding. However, most of Square Mile’s new work has been in

the business-to-business arena for IT infrastructure clients and financial

organisations with a technology twist.



In July, Square Mile bought Fleet Financial Communications, a specialist

in media relations for listed SMEs, and in January 2000, set up a new

consulting division, MC2. Headed by Paul Philpotts, former president of

Ogilvy PR Worldwide, MC2 aims to bridge the gap between financial and

corporate communications.





41 EML pounds 882,000



Now in its 13th year of trading, business-to-business hi-tech specialist

EML experienced a four per cent drop in fee income last year. This was

largely the result of terminating its corporate EMEA work for Lucent

Technologies.



Last autumn, after a partnership spanning seven years, both sides decided

that the relationship had run its natural course and parted company.



EML has now picked up accounts from clients that previously it was unable

to approach because of conflict. Specialising exclusively in the

electronics and communications sector, EML acts as the lead agency across

Europe for a number of its clients and such accounts are serviced either

through EML’s informal network of European affiliates or in conjunction

with clients existing local agencies. Director Geoff Boyes says one of the

primary lessons learnt last year is not to be afraid of life after the big

client.



The agency is now concentrating on start-ups and business employee

communications.





This year’s rankings have not been compared with 1998 since hi-tech income

now includes dot.coms for the first time. A comparative ranking will

resume next year on the basis of the new criteria





31 companies out of the top 50 had hi-tech fee income growth of more than

30 per cent



Five of the top 50 hi-tech agencies gained more than 30 per cent of their

income from dot.coms





Firefly won several on-line consumer accounts, including yell.com and dot

music. New media network and internet search company AltaVista appointed

the agency to co-ordinate a pan-European PR programme, and another new

media win was UK internet accelerator company eVentures





Weber wins in the new economy sector included internet infrastructure

company AboveNet, global e-business IT and management consultancy AMS, and

internet consultancy Nvision. New telecoms clients included KPN Qwest UK,

a joint venture between Dutch carrier KPN and US company Qwest, and

Tachyon, a company offering internet services through satellite links





Lewis wins included US financial software house Fiserv, and e-buisness

developer Informix Software. Brokat, a Frankfurt-headquartered company

supplying e-business engines for web sites, appointed Lewis to carry out

all UK work, while customer relationship managmeent software company

eLoyalty handed the agency a pan-European brief





Taiwanese PC manufacturer Acer appointed Banner in the UK, while Swedish

on-line specialist EPO.com asked the agency to launch its service in the

UK, France and Scandinavia





Last year Square Mile attracted sit-up.com, a technology convergence

venture set up by three former directors of ONDigital, on-line health site

Healthmedia and internet portal the Rainbow Network





New clients for EML included PMC-Sierra, embedded systems company ANT, and

telecoms operators Eurotel Telecom and First Telecom.



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