Yet CEO Martin Sorrell said in a statement that the quarter's results show stabilization for 2010 and that the industry has gone from “staring into the abyss.”
Reported revenues for the for the PR and public affairs unit were $305 million* for the first three months of this year, compared to $307.9 million for the like period a year ago. Like-for-like revenues exclude the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations.
Paul Richardson, finance director for WPP, said in the earnings call that revenues for the unit increased 4% in March, with the company attributing in a statement “strong growth in specialist PR business in the US” as an example.
WPP's PR and public affairs firms include Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Public Strategies, Quinn Gillespie & Associates, and Cohn & Wolfe.“Public relations and public affairs, representing 10% of our revenues, was up,” said Richardson. “It was one of the better performing disciplines last year.”
WPP said group revenues were $3.2 billion, compared to $3.2 billion. In the US, like-for-like revenues in the US grew 3.4%, with reported revenue of $1.6 billion for the first quarter of 2010, compared to $1.2 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
The earnings statement noted that “the US has shown the sharpest turnaround indicating it will be the biggest source of growth in 2010.” It also cited events such as the Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, World Expo, and the US mid-term elections as growth areas for 2010.
*All figures were converted from the British pound to the US dollar using the XE currency converter.