Interpublic PR firms see 4% revenue jump in Q1

NEW YORK: Interpublic Group's PR firms in the Constituency Management Group saw organic revenue growth of 4% in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the same period the prior year.

NEW YORK: Interpublic Group's PR firms in the Constituency Management Group saw organic revenue growth of 4% in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the same period the prior year.

CMG as a whole reported a Q1 organic revenue increase of 14% to $301.9 million.

The holding company owns and operates Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, DeVries Global, and other marketing specialist agencies in its CMG division. It also manages Carmichael Lynch Spong and the Axis Agency outside of the unit.

Overall, IPG reported a 2.3% organic increase in revenue to $1.54 billion in Q1, compared with the prior year. It posted an operating loss of $42 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $39 million in the same period last year.

Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick, said the agency's first-quarter revenue grew 5.3% organically, compared with a 2.9% organic increase in Q1 2012. He attributed that to robust digital and social media capabilities, new business wins and expanded work with existing clients, and strong performance in the consumer marketing, healthcare, and corporate reputation practices.

In the US, Weber's account wins included the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the state of Maryland for campaigns promoting insurance marketplaces; the Big Ten Conference; and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Performance was particularly strong in North America, Brazil, and Asia, Polansky added.

“What's encouraging to me is we continue to see a very strong pipeline,” he said. “We began to see a pickup late last year and that has continued through the quarter.”

Fred Cook, CEO of GolinHarris, said his agency's Q1 revenue increased 5.6% organically, year-over-year, exceeding projections. Golin expanded work with client Walmart in January and retained the seven-figure international PR account for the Florida Department of Citrus, among other business growth.

“We have had a lot of new business wins in the third and fourth quarters of last year that have kicked in,” Cook added. 

Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe also reported first quarter earnings this week. Omnicom's PR agencies, which include Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli, grew 1.9% organically compared with Q1 2012. Publicis' MSLGroup PR network saw organic revenue growth of between 2% and 3% in the first quarter of this year, a Publicis Groupe source told PRWeek.

In 2012, IPG's PR revenue grew 5.4% in the first quarter, while CMG's Q1 revenue increased 8.6% organically.

Organic growth represents change in revenue without measuring the impact of acquisitions and disposals.

This story was updated on April 19 with additional information on GolinHarris' performance in the first quarter.

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