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Asia-Pacific ‘improving’ for WPP as global revenue takes a pummelling

Despite shrinking revenue both globally and regionally, WPP’s has claimed its fortunes are improving in Asia-Pacific.

Globally the advertising giant’s organic revenue fell by 0.9 per cent, while in the region encompassing APAC, the Middle East and Central Europe, the figure dipped by 0.8 per cent from 2016.

However, despite this, the company reported its optimism in Asia, particularly citing China, India and Japan as markets with strong economic prospects for 2018.

In addition, WPP said it was “buttressed” by economies such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Yet on the whole, Sir Martin Sorrell described 2017 as “not a pretty year” due to the flat like-for-like top line growth and operating profits.

North America, where net sales fell 3.2 percent, hit the company’s figures particularly hard, while the United Kingdom was one of the strongest performers.

For this year, the company stated its budgets were being set on the basis it would see flat growth for revenue and net sales.

WPP cited Facebook and Googles’ role in “disintermediating agencies”, the company refrained from blaming the infamous duopoloy outright. Instead, Sir Martin pointed to “the long-term impact of technological disruption and more the short-term focus of zero-based budgeters”.

In addition, the company pointed to clients’ demands for “faster, better, cheaper” agency partners, indicating further consolidations were on the horizon.

This week, WPP’s public relations agencies Burson Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe became the latest victims of the consolidation train, following in the footsteps of MEC and Maxus, Wunderman and Possible and the six agencies collapsed into Superunion.

The report said: “This escalation will continue as we continue to work with clients on developing the ‘agency of the future’ and who, at the same time, demand faster, better, cheaper”.

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