Public relations top of marcoms league

Public relations and public affairs are storming ahead of other marcoms disciplines, according to WPP Group's latest trading update.

Chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell’s marketing conglo­merate, which owns Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Cohn & Wolfe, Ogilvy PR, Finsbury, GCI and Buchanan Communications, reported a 14 per cent rise in revenue across the first five months of this year.

In contrast, advertising and media investment rose six per cent, and revenues across the group were up just 5.2 per cent. Worldwide revenues across the group increased only one per cent.

The trading statement ­also revealed that WPP intends to reduce its carbon footprint by 2010, which means all agencies will be ­required to overhaul their arrangements for IT, energy sourcing and travel.

Meanwhile, a merger and acquisition (M&A) survey from WKS Results heralded further signals of fervent ­activity among PR agencies.

The survey suggested an increase in M&As next year, with 83 per cent of potential buyers believing that the time to act is now. This is up from 68 per cent last year.

More than half of agency directors who say they are thinking of selling think they should do so in the next year.

The survey of 70 executives in corporate development at marcoms agencies also revealed that ‘open ­media’ such as blogging and podcasting are expected to be the fastest-growing type of internet marketing, overtaking search marketing.

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