NEW YORK: The PR firms in Interpublic Group’s Dxtra network registered low-single-digit growth on an as-reported basis and were flat on an organic basis in Q1, said Andy Polansky, the division’s CEO, on Wednesday.
That compared to low-single-digit growth on an as-reported and organic basis in Q1 2020.
However, Polansky was bullish on Dxtra’s Q1 performance and its prospects for this year.
“The results for the PR agencies represented a sharp sequential improvement from Q4 2020,” said Polansky. “We are continuing to see a more positive tone to the business.”
The PR firms in Dxtra are Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries Global, Current Global, Rogers & Cowan/PMK, ReviveHealth and United Minds. Dxtra also contains marketing specialist and events shops. In October, IPG overhauled its former Constituency Management Group operating unit and relaunched it as IPG Dxtra.
Dxtra posted a 4.8% organic revenue drop in Q1 to $293.6 million.
However, Weber, ReviveHealth, United Minds and Resolute Digital had a strong performance in the quarter. Meanwhile, Golin added accounts such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Monogram Orthopedics.
“Golin is seeing considerable growth from its top client portfolio and is poised to have a very strong year,” said Polansky. “Current Global had a strong quarter with double-digit growth on an as-reported and organic basis, fueled by an uptick in corporate and healthcare business.”
North America and Europe were the PR agencies’ best performing regions and healthcare continued to be “very strong'' for Dxtra, Polansky said. Public affairs and consumer also performed well.
“Even in the face of the pandemic, Dxtra retained 96% of its top 100 clients in Q1,” said Polansky.
More broadly, Dxtra is beginning to see a pickup in its events marketing business. Clients are continuing with virtual and hybrid events but are also planning for a return to live events in the second half of 2021.
“Our sports and entertainment businesses are picking up with the return of events but also with fans attending events around the world more and more,” said Polansky.
Meanwhile, IPG's creative-focused IAN network was up 3.2% in the period in terms of organic revenue to $1.7 billion. 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.
The holding company’s organic net revenue performance was mixed in Q1 by geography, down by 0.2% in the U.S., up by 3.5% in the U.K. and up by 12.4% in Continental Europe. It also rose by 3.4% in Asia-Pacific, by 5% in Latin America and by 7.3% in all other markets.
“While there is some uncertainty around the pandemic and it is still very much a concern from a public health standpoint in different parts of the world, given conversations we are having with our clients, they are focusing on driving demand,” said Polansky. “So we see an improving tone for the business and we are cautiously optimistic about the remainder of 2021. We see a return to growth for the business for the remainder of the year.”