15 August 2000

The ad industry, if no-one else, is coining cash from the internet. At London-headquartered WPP Group, revenues from online advertising and marketing activities trebled in the first half of this year, helping to boost interim pre-tax profits by more than 22% to £137.7 million ($207.4m).

Web-based work across WPP’s constituents generated revenues of £60m ($90m) compared with £19.91m ($30m) year-on-year. "I don't think it will continue to triple," said chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, although he believes that the figure for the second half could reach £132.8m ($200m).

It is increasingly difficult to isolate web-related revenues, said Sir Martin, “given that much of the work for clients involves the integration of their web and traditional activities”.

The group says it is on course to hit its target of a 14% operating margin this fiscal. It also expects its all-share takeover of Young & Rubicam to be completed by October, as a result of which margin targets have been revised to 15% in 2001 and 15.5% in 2002.

News source: The Times (London)