Ever alert to the balance sheet benefits of an eye-catching headline, WPP Group ceo Sir Martin Sorrell is once again in the centre of the ring before the bell sounds.

Confided Sorrell to the planet's media: "Clients tend to exaggerate how much they are doing on the internet because it is glamorous...You don't get fired for spending on the internet now."

His assurance will doubtless comfort the marketing directors of the globe's multinational giants, most of whom are now spending freely in the medium - which in global terms is set to overtake outdoor in 2007, according to ZenithOptimedia [WAMN: 11-Apr-06].

Nor will Sir Martin's certitude harm the inflow of WPP's online revenues, which currently account for a mere 5% of its income.

However, despite his headline-savvy comments, WPP's latest quarterly numbers need no talking-up. Total revenues rose to £1.38 billion ($2.46bn; €1.99bn) reflecting strong growth in the Asia and Middle East regions.

Underlying revenue growth in continental Europe was a barnstorming 19.6% and nearly as buoyant in the US (16.7%). Even in WPP's slowest growing region, its home patch, the UK, growth hit a healthy 9.6%.

But bringing greatest joy to analysts' stony hearts was WPP's better-than-expected £1.3bn of net new business billings.

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