Chime retains top slot as downturn hits tech agencies

LONDON - PRWeek's table of the UK's Top 50 tech PR firms this week reveals the full effect of the global downturn on the tech PR industry. From the 40 agencies that supplied data for both 2000 and 2001, only 20 posted growth for last year.

Chime Online's operations retained the top place with fee income of £10.2m -- 4% down on last year -- after a new-business drive partially counteracted the effects of a slow market.

The firm -- which is headed by Lord Bell and includes Harvard PR, Insight Marketing and Communications and 20% of Interactive Bureau -- remained more than £2.3m ahead of second-placed Hill & Knowlton as a result.

The UK's largest agency -- Weber Shandwick -- dropped one place to third with more than £7.8m in tech income, showing a slump of 15% from its tech brands Miller/ Shandwick Technologies and The Weber Group, as well from WS tech clients.

Double-figure income declines, however, plagued a high proportion of firms in the table.

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