INTERNATIONAL: Waggener Edstrom leads booming US hi-tech firms

NEW YORK: The top 100 hi-tech US PR firms raked in over pounds 250 million in 1998, according to a comprehensive study of the sector by PR Week US.

NEW YORK: The top 100 hi-tech US PR firms raked in over pounds 250

million in 1998, according to a comprehensive study of the sector by PR

Week US.



The survey reveals across-the-board growth, as agencies capitalised on

an unprecedented influx of venture capital and a voracious desire for

brand building among start-ups.



The pounds 311.75 million total fees represents 25 per cent of the PR

income generated by PR Week US’ overall top 200 firms.



’There has never been as much money around as there currently is,’ said

Miller/ Shandwick technology chairman Fred Hoar.



Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s corporate agency, easily topped the field,

with almost double the income of its nearest rival, while major global

powers such as Fleishman-Hillard, Porter Novelli and Shandwick vied for

spots in the top five.



Double-digit growth rates were the norm at most firms, but the most

impressive was shown by BSMG, which finished just outside the top ten at

12, up 87 per cent to pounds 9.9 million.



The growth is predicted to continue, in particular from e-commerce on

the business-to-business side.



Forrester Research projects that US inter-company trade of hard goods

on-line hit pounds 27 billion in 1998 and will surge to pounds 800

billion by 2003 - an annual growth rate of 90 per cent.





TOP 10 US HI-TECH PR FIRMS

Rank  Agency                        98 fee           97 fee   percentage

                           income (pounds)  income (pounds)     increase

1     Waggener Edstrom          25,562,500                -            -

2     Fleishman-Hillard         16,993,125       12,540,000           36

3     Brodeur Porter Novelli    16,672,845                -            -

4     Shandwick Int.            15,979,139                -            -

5     Copithorne &Bellows       14,727,302       12,414,529           19

6     Ketchum                   14,375,000        9,875,000           46

7     Manning Selvage &Lee      14,256,875       10,963,125           30

8     Weber PR                  13,992,975       11,954,062           16

9     Cunningham Comms          12,773,125       10,868,750           18

10    Edelman PR1               11,440,496                -            -

1. Includes income from PR21.

Published by PR Week US.



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