PR revenues up for IPG, CMG

NEW YORK: Revenue at Interpublic's Constituency Management Group increased 7% in the second quarter of 2010, up to $242 million from $226.2 million last year.

NEW YORK: Revenue at Interpublic's Constituency Management Group increased 7% in the second quarter of 2010, up to $242 million from $226.2 million last year.

The CMG, which includes PR agencies Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, and MWW Group, achieved $463.8 million in revenue for the first half of the year, up 6.2% compared to $436.6 million for the first half of 2009. Organic growth was 6.7% for the second quarter and 4.5% for the first half.

PR agencies led the growth within CMG, posting 8.1% revenue increase for the quarter, said Harris Diamond, CEO of CMG and Weber Shandwick.

"When you have 8% growth in a quarter, you have to say, yes, that's a return to the type of growth rates we had seen earlier in the decade, before the financial crisis,” he told PRWeek. “It is again a sign of the front-and-center status PR is taking."

Almost all sectors and geographic locations achieved growth, he added, and digital and social media continue to provide opportunities for agencies as “clients look not just for guidance, which is what they were looking for in the past, but also executionable ideas,” Diamond said.

In a conference call to discuss the earnings, Michael Roth, IPG's chairman and CEO, said: "At CMG, we're fortunate to have exceptional agencies such as Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris in the PR space that consistently deliver great thinking and programs to our clients. Our results demonstrate they are winning share in the space."

IPG reported total revenues of $1.62 billion for Q2, a 9.7% increase from $1.47 billion in the second quarter 2009. For the first half of the year, revenue was $2.96 billion, a 5.7% increase from $2.8 billion in 2009. Organic growth was 8.5% for the quarter and 3.1% for the first half.

"Of course," Roth said, "it should be noted that the severity of the downturn last year means we had the benefit of favorable comps this quarter." In the US, organic revenue growth was 13.6% for the quarter and 8.5% for the first half.

Net profit attributable to IPG was $82.5 million for the second quarter, up from $27.8 million in Q2 2009, and $17.9 million for the first half.

Roth added that growth was strong in the automotive, retail, and financial services sectors, as well as digital.

"We're also seeing a great deal of digital activity in PR, and all of our marketing service agencies within CMG, such as Jack Morton and Octagon," he said, "and we are building best in class social media and word-of-mouth practices."

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