The refrains are starting to harmonise, with growing consensus that 2004 will see recognizable recovery within the global ad industry.

The latest chorister to join in the harmony is Aegis Group, the London-headquartered media planning/buying and market research holding company which on Monday unveiled its first-half results.

Aegis, parent of Europe’s largest media network Carat, reported a 2.7% increase in organic revenues for the six months to June 30, compared to a marginal 0.5% in the same period last year. At headline level, including income from acquisitions, revenues blossomed by 7.8% to $294.7 million ($466.29m; €419.7m). Underlying pre-tax profits at £30.9m were also marginally up compared with £30.0m last year.

In an accompanying commentary, Aegis notes that a “modest” but ongoing advertising recovery in the US is spurred by upfront television commitments for 2003; although the European market – which generates 75% of the group's trading profit – is less rosy with growth prospects remaining “weak” for the rest of this year.

Summarizes Aegis: “Overall, the global advertising market showed a slight recovery in the first six months [and] …while the second half of the year may see slightly better market conditions, it is likely that 2003 will show only a slight recovery. Market predictions, however, point to an increased rate of adspend growth in 2004.”

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff