NEW YORK: Weber PR Worldwide has leapt into the world’s top ten
agencies, in its first full year of business since its purchase by ad
agency McCann-Erickson in 1996. Burson-Marsteller topped the league with
a fee income of pounds 165 million.
According to O’Dwyer’s directory of PR firms, published in New York this
month, Weber’s 1997 fee income was pounds 38 million. The Weber group
has grown dramatically through acquisition since joining
McCann-Erickson. UK financial PR firm Ludgate was acquired by Weber last
year. Its fee income now outstrips firms including Ogilvy PR Worldwide
and Rowland Worldwide.
The O’Dwyer listing does not compare fee income for Weber with last
year’s figures, because this year the group submitted figures for all
its companies, including UK financial PR firm Ludgate. The listing
includes income from outside the US for international firms. Hill and
Knowlton was not included because it did not include a client list,
according to O’Dwyer’s.
Of the 50 largest PR firms in O’Dwyer’s directory, 39 saw double-digit
growth last year. Of the top 20 firms, only Shandwick and its sister
brand Golin/Harris Communications failed to show growth in the ranking.
The Shandwick Group reports in sterling and the UK currency’s
appreciation against the dollar therefore hit its US income figures for
1997. BSMG Worldwide was the fastest growing top 20 agency. Shandwick,
which is in talks to sell part or all of its shares to another company,
and Edelman are the only top ten agencies which remain independently
Porter Novelli and Fleishman-Hillard, both owned by Omnicom, now form
the world’s largest PR group, Communications Consulting Worldwide.
O’Dwyer’s top ten agencies
Agency Net fee income Staff % change
(dollars US) from ’96
Burson-Marsteller 265 2,129 13.5
Shandwick 159 1,742 -
Porter Novelli Int 148 1,331 22
Fleishman-Hillard 135 1,115 25
Worldwide 134 1,332 19.7
Worldwide 97 827 29
MS&L 64 459 32.5
GCI Group 62 645 18.6
BSMG Worldwide 61.6 539 40.2
Weber PR Worldwide 61 350 new entity