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Agency Big Four Set to Gain Most from Ad Upturn

News, 06 April 2004

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