THE TOP EUROPEAN PR CONSULTANCIES 2001: Austria - A widespread privatisation programme is stimulating demand for agency PR services

The Austrian economy grew by a healthy 3.2 per cent last year, with

industrial production up by more than eight per cent: the biggest

increase in the last three decades. This year economic growth is

expected to slow to around 2.2 per cent, primarily as a result of

greater uncertainty in the global economy. However, unemployment is

expected to continue edging downwards before stabilising at around 3.5

per cent of the labour force by 2002.

A widespread privatisation programme spanning former state-owned

entities in sectors as diverse as telecoms and tobacco is stimulating

demand for agency PR services as is the liberalisation of Austria's

energy markets.

Austria, and its capital Vienna in particular, is geographically well

placed as a hub for the growing number of multi-country communications

campaigns across central and eastern Europe. The outlook is


That is undoubtedly why in April this year Germany's largest PR agency

Kohtes Klewes announced it was taking a 40 per cent stake in former

Weber Shandwick affiliate Publico PR & Lobbying. Publico, which was set

up 38 years ago, has been Austria's top PR agency consistently for the

past decade. It has 55 staff and has been active across central and

eastern Europe.

'The last financial year has been the best of all time,' says Publico

CEO Wolfgang Rosam. 'We are very happy to have broken through the 100m

Austrian schilling barrier.'

IPOs and new economy assignments were a major driving force behind the

agency's strong performance. But even at a time of greater equity market

uncertainty and curtailed marketing spend, Rosam remains

confident about growth this year, pointing out that during the first

quarter Publico's fee income has risen 16 per cent: 'Despite more

difficult market conditions we view the future very positively,' he

says. 'The trends are that there is greater demand for bigger agencies

and network capabilities have an ever stronger significance.'

Switzerland-based Trimedia, which owns Germany's second ranked PR

agency, has also moved into the Austrian market with the acquisition of

ikp Vienna.

The acquisition is part of a strategy to position itself as the leading

communications network in German-speaking Europe, serving a population

of 100 million German speakers across subsidiaries in Berlin, Bern,

Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Zurich and now Vienna. Renamed Trimedia

Communications Austria, the business is run by Alfred Autischer, who in

October split from his ikp colleagues by executing an MBO of ikp Vienna.

The agency retains three other offices.

Other changes among leading agencies include Okrina, Heinisch changing

its name to Icons last summer following the departure of Werner Okrina,

the founding partner with Severin Heinisch, and Skills in PR becoming

the Skills Group following a merger with web agency Short Cut Digital

Media. According to Skills managing partner Paul Sills, clients are

increasingly looking for agencies that can integrate e-commerce

expertise with online PR aptitude.

'The biggest growth area that I see is the European-wide multi-country

accounts,' says Hauska & Partner managing director Leo Hauska. He also

points to the future eastwards expansion of the European Union as

offering opportunities. Austrian state Burgenland, which borders

Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, has retained Hauska to work on an

assignment linked to EU enlargement. Another important new client is the

Austrian subsidiary of German utilities giant Ruhrgas, which is seeking

to make inroads into Austria's liberalised energy market.

Temmel & Seywald Communications, which has built its business partly on

the back of work for government clients such as the Chancellery and the

Economics and Environment Ministries, has also latched on to the growing

internationalisation of PR in Austria. Programmes it has picked up

include PR activity in Poland for start-up telecoms company Kiwwi and

work across eastern Europe for mobile phone company Tel.Me.

Temmel & Seywald MD Wilfried Seywald says that changes to Austria's

traditionally conservative financial landscape also present

opportunities. 'There's no tradition of financial relations here but we

are going into the field because there are so many banks and funds

coming into Austria who need a professional PR framework,' he


Ecker & Partner managing director Dietmar Ecker, whose clients include

the City of Vienna and the Austrian post office, sees a silver lining to

the world's economic slowdown and its impact on his own country. 'More

problems for enterprises also means more work for PR people,' he


'So there won't be a break in growth. But maybe it won't be as fast this

year as last.'

Hochegger managing director Peter Hochegger also has a rosy outlook on

the future. He feels that in an ever more complex world, there will be

increasing client dependence on PR practitioners who are able to convey

messages in a concise and compelling way. However, for the moment, he

notes, although his company's general PR business is growing at about 30

per cent annually, its direct marketing and specialist financial

communications is growing even faster.

The entry of Kohtes Klewes and Trimedia into the market signals that

major agency players consider Austria to be an important piece of the

multi-national jigsaw. Vienna's location makes it a leading contender as

a hub from which to co-ordinate cross-border campaigns throughout

central and eastern Europe. It is highly likely that some other

independents will be snapped up by international agency networks in the

coming year.


Rank Company Fee income (pounds) Growth

2000 2000 1999 %

1 Publico PR & Lobbying* 5,247,141 3,942,272 33

2 Hochegger Com* 3,531,907 2,591,295 36

3 Trimedia Communications* 2,231,649 - -

4 Pro & Co Public Relations* 1,406,308 751,568 87

5 Ecker & Partner 1,309,480 1,088,159 20

6 Icons* 977,499 700,848 39

7 The Skills Group* 972,888 631,686 54

8 Ogilvy PR Worldwide 952,503 801,054 19

9 Temmel & Seywald 917,558 936,001 -2

10 ikp* 834,563 - -

11 Menedetter PR* 751,568 604,021 24

12 Hauska & Partner* 723,903 650,129 11

13 FCB Events & PR* 710,070 - -

14 MultiArt 636,297 525,636 21

15 communication matters* 585,577 327,370 79

16 Lieben Rath Waldenmair* 580,966 474,917 22

17 Conter PR 567,134 548,691 3

18 On Duty 544,080 239,764 127

19 results & relations* 484,139 322,759 50

20 Lang & Tomaschtik* 465,695 221,321 110

21 Dr. Viktor Bauer* 428,809 285,872 50

22 WIR Public Relations 396,533 401,143 -1

23 Focus Communications 331,981 272,040 22

24 Herzer Communications 331,981 272,040 22

25 P.R.I.M.A* 322,759 244,375 32

Rank Company Location Status


1 Publico PR & Lobbying* Vienna Weber Shandwick


2 Hochegger Com* Vienna Independent

3 Trimedia Communications* Vienna Trimedia subsidiary

4 Pro & Co Public Relations* Vienna IPREX member

5 Ecker & Partner Vienna Artmedia Berlin


6 Icons* Vienna PNI affiliate

7 The Skills Group* Vienna PROI member

8 Ogilvy PR Worldwide Vienna Ogilvy subsidiary

9 Temmel & Seywald Vienna Independent

10 ikp* Salzburg Worldcom member

11 Menedetter PR* Vienna Independent

12 Hauska & Partner* Modling F-H affiliate

13 FCB Events & PR* Vienna Independent

14 MultiArt Vienna Independent

15 communication matters* Vienna ECCO member

16 Lieben Rath Waldenmair* Vienna Independent

17 Conter PR Vienna Independent

18 On Duty Vienna Independent

19 results & relations* Vienna Independent

20 Lang & Tomaschtik* Vienna Independent

21 Dr. Viktor Bauer* Vienna Independent

22 WIR Public Relations Vienna Independent

23 Focus Communications Vienna Independent

24 Herzer Communications Vienna Independent

25 P.R.I.M.A* Vienna Independent

All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000 Fee income= PR

fees only

*Denotes member of PRVA Figures supplied by PRWeek sister title PR

Report and compiled by Austrian marketing magazine Bestseller

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