WPP’s PR and public affairs numbers continue to improve
Holding company WPP’s global organic PR and public affairs revenues were up 1.9% year over year in the first quarter of 2014, excluding acquisitions and currency changes. Revenue at the owner of agencies including Burson-Marsteller, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Ogilvy Public Relations, and Cohn & Wolfe was actually down from £221 million to £212 million, due to the affects of a strong UK currency, accounting for 8.2% of total group revenue. This was the second quarter in a row that WPP’s PR & public affairs organic revenues increased, and the network said its Q1 numbers were up "even more strongly than the final quarter of 2013, which was the strongest quarter last year for this sector."
Two-speed internet plans under spotlight as lobbying intensifies
Lobbying has ramped up after the FCC’s continued attempts to introduce a two-speed internet access system whereby online providers can pay for faster delivery of content to consumers. At least 69 companies, trade associations, and interest groups have met the commission since its third attempt to write new rules to secure an open internet. The proposal risks demolishing net neutrality as it would allow content owners, especially bandwidth-intensive companies such as Netflix, Disney, or Google, to pay to get their content to users faster.
Tech giants settle non-compete employee solicitation suit
Google, Apple, Adobe, and Intel have provisionally settled an estimated $324 million antitrust dispute with 64,000 engineers who had accused the tech behemoths of refusing to solicit each others’ employees, thus restricting employment opportunities in Silicon Valley. The settlement still needs to be approved by the judge in the case, but is considered a victory for the tech companies, which could have been looking at a $9 billion payout.
Ride-sharing wars increase as Lyft launches in 24 new cities
Ride-sharing service Lyft has launched in 24 new locations, bringing its total reach to 60 American cities, and has responded to recent price cuts at rival Uber with its own reductions and special offers. For the next two weeks, rides will be free in the 24 new cities, which include Albuquerque, NM, Buffalo, NY, and Oklahoma City, OK. In addition to system-wide cuts of up to 20% earlier this month, Lyft is slashing an extra 10% off charges across the board. Uber has cut prices in markets where it competes with Lyft by up to 34% in recent months, and reduced commission from 20% to 5%, although it reintroduced some commissions and fees last week.
Earnings roundup: Amazon sales up 23%, Ford profits down