Omnicom PR revenue tumbles in Q4

The holding company's PR firms reported a fourth-quarter organic revenue drop of 6.9% on Tuesday morning.

Omnicom Group CEO John Wren
Omnicom Group CEO John Wren

NEW YORK: Omnicom Group’s PR agencies saw a 6.9% fourth-quarter 2015 drop in organic revenue, the holding company said Tuesday morning in an earnings statement. For the full year, organic PR revenue was down 1.4% compared with 2014.

Omnicom’s PR agencies include FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Marina Maher Communications, and other firms.

The PR agencies trailed the holding company’s other marketing disciplines in terms of organic revenue. For the quarter, its advertising shops achieved a 12.6% jump in organic revenue. CRM and specialty communications also saw organic revenue decreases, but of 1.5% an 5.9%, respectively.

For the year, Omnicom’s advertising agencies reported a 9.3% jump in organic revenue. CRM was up 1.9% and specialty communications increased 2.2%.

Ketchum CEO Rob Flaherty declined to comment on the group numbers, but said his firm "outpaced" them and won new business from and General Mills in Q4, as well as Kohler and Etihad Airways last year. He said the agency recorded positive revenue for both the quarter and the year.

Karen van Bergen, CEO of Porter Novelli, said her firm "saw year-over-year growth in both the quarter and our year-end results."

"We’re riding a wave of momentum into 2016 with notable wins and significant organic growth, in addition to industry recognition for our talented team members and for the agency as a top workplace," she said.

Marina Maher and Fleishman CEO John Saunders could not be immediately reached for comment.

The holding company as a whole reported an organic revenue increase in the fourth quarter of 4.8%. However, revenue on a reported basis, without taking into account the impact of currency rates, acquisitions, or disposals, was down 1% in the period to $4.2 billion (£2.9 billion).

For all of 2015, Omnicom’s organic revenue was up 5.3% compared with 2014, but down 1.2% on a reported basis to $15.1 billion. Net income in Q4 was up 0.6% to $331.6 million, but down 0.9% for the full year to $1.1 billion.

Broken down by geography, the holding company’s business as a whole in Q4 reported 4.7% organic revenue growth in North America, 4.9% in the UK, 3.5% in other European markets, 8.6% in Asia-Pacific, 0.4% in Latin America, and 5% in Africa and the Middle East.

For the 12 months ending in December, North American organic revenue was up 5.4%, and it increased by 7.1% in the UK, 3.7% in other European markets, 7.9% in Asia-Pacific, and 6.8% in Africa and the Middle East. It dropped by 3.3% in Latin America. 

This story was updated on February 9 with quotes from Flaherty and van Bergen.

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