Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Wednesday morning

WPP, IPG earnings; Global appointments; What to watch in Biden’s speech.

Holding company earnings season hits full swing this morning. First, Interpublic Group's Dxtra, which contains the bulk of its PR firms as well as other marketing specialist and events shops, posted a 4.8% organic revenue drop in Q1 to $293.6 million. Meanwhile, IPG's creative-focused IAN network was up 3.2% in the period in terms of organic revenue. The holding company overall reported net revenue of $2 billion, up 1.9% on an organic basis year-over-year and net income of $91.7 million. Last week, Omnicom reported a 3.5% revenue decline for its PR firms in Q1. Publicis and Havas did not break out PR numbers.

WPP posted sunnier PR numbers in the first reporting period of the calendar year. The London-based holding company's PR firms saw a 2% like-for-like revenue increase in Q1, and all of its business segments reported growth in the period. The PR arm's performance was driven by Finsbury Glover Hering and Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Across the holding company, revenue was up 3.1% on a like-for-like basis in Q1.

BTW, you can get the full download on the 2020 performance of agencies from IPG Dxtra's Weber Shandwick and Golin to WPP's BCW and H+K Strategies in PRWeek's Agency Business Report 2021. Plus: Read about what the top holding company CEOs are thinking.

Also new this morning: A bunch of global appointments. Porter Novelli has named two global healthcare leads, promoting Lisa O'Sullivan in the U.K. to health growth lead and Maura Bergen in the U.S. to health sector lead in its global healthcare communications practice. Both joined the Omnicom firm about five years ago. Lansons Intermarket has hired former Prosek Partners MD Josh Passman as CEO.

What to watch tonight in a nutshell. President Joe Biden is set to deliver a State of the Union-like speech to Congress. He's expected to make the case for hefty spending proposals in infrastructure and education and issues like police reform. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are also set to make history behind the dais, as is Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who will deliver the Republican rebuttal.

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