Bite Communications: Agency Business Report 2009

"I'm confident that 2009... will see us continue to develop our business in the right direction," says CEO Clive Armitage.

Outlook
"I'm confident that 2009... will see us continue to develop our business in the right direction," says CEO Clive Armitage.

Plans include expanding Bite's reach in corporate communications, anchored by last year's account wins. Retention dipped last year, so the firm will focus on keeping the number above industry average.

Staff
Bite restructured its senior management team. It added a North America GM last year, eliminating the need for separate GMs in San Francisco and New York. Global headcount is 125, 72 in North America, down 17% from FY 2007. Staff turnover was 27% globally, 20% in North America.

Regional performance
Bite has seven wholly owned offices globally. Trading in Hong Kong is temporarily suspended due to the economy. In North America, Bite grew across all its sectors.

Practice areas
Bite is building out services for social media, analyst relations, product reviews, and user-generated content offerings. It expanded its corporate communications offering after winning AMD and Sybase. The consumer and clean tech practices grew, but at a slower pace than b-to-b. B-to-b accounts for 55% of revenue, consumer tech 30%, and clean tech 15%.

Accounts
Key North America wins in 2008 included Lime Energy, Quantcast, Sybase, and Verdiem. Losses included Gaia Online, PayPal, and SunPower. In North America, about 90% of clients are on retainer.

Financial performance
US revenue totaled less than $50 million last year. Bite was nearly 5% below expected revenue, mostly because of the credit crunch and recession.

Key facts
Principals: Clive Armitage, CEO (pictured); David Hargreaves, GM, North America

Ownership: Next Fifteen

Offices: Three wholly owned in US, seven globally

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