Omnicom Group, Interpublic Group, WPP Group and Publicis Groupe are poised to cream most benefit from this year's advertising upsurge, says New York and London-based credit assessment agency Fitch Ratings.

In addition to the current upswing of the economic pendulum, Fitch points to three significant global events that will further boost ad revenues: the Euro 2004 soccer championships over three weeks from June 12; the Athens Olympic Games in August; and the US presidential elections in November.

In this amazing feat of clairvoyance, Fitch's experts lag some three years behind Sir Martin Sorrell and other adbiz notables -- probably your Aunt Clarissa too!

In the latest report, Global Advertising: Signs of Stabilization, senior Fitch director Karen Ghaffari warns major agency holding companies that their ability to adapt to the increasing desertion of audiences from network TV "will be a determining factor in how these companies perform over time".

Smarter use of other media such as cable networks, the internet and videogames, she opines, will play a vital role in their success.

There will be "moderate" merger and acquisition activity among the main agency players -- WPP, Omnicom and Publicis are singled out -- while midsize groups such as Havas, Grey Global Group and Aegis are likely to attract the attention of predators.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff