150 equals 125? The Alternative PR Week 150

Following on from my post on Monday about the PR Week Top 150 I thought it might also be interesting to analyse the rankings from an ownership rather than a brand perspective. As I previously stated the largest player in the Top 150, if ownership is taken account of, is WPP with £81m combined fee income across its brands. Based on a little bit of analysis I think the Top 15 allowing for ownership and partial ownership would look something like this. (Hope I have these right anyone who wants to point out an error please do so).

1. WPP – £81m (Hill and Knowlton, Finsbury, Burston Marsteller, Cohn and Wolfe, Buchanan, Ogilvy, GCI, Clarion)
2. Omnicom – £62m (Ketchum, Fleishman Hillard, Porter Novelli, Gavin Anderson, Pleon, Fishburn Hedges*)
3. Huntsworth – £57m (Citigate, Trimedia, The Red Consultancy, Grayling, Huntsworth Health, Haslimann Taylor)
4. Bell Potinger – £53m (part of Chime Communications**)
5. Brunswick – £44m
6. Financial Dynamics – £42m (part of FTI Consulting)
7. Interpublic – £36m (Weber Shandwick, Golin Harris)
8. Publicis Groupe – £28m (Freud Communications, MS&L)
9. Edelman – £21m
10. Havas – £21m (Maitland, Euro RSCG, Cake)
11. Next Fifteen – £19m (Lexis, Bite, Text 100, Inferno)
12. College Hill – £13m
13. M Communications – £10m
14. The Photon Group - £10m (Hotwire, Frank PR)
15. Lansons Communications – £9m

* Fishburn Hedges is owned via BBDO Worldwide
** WPP holds a 21.8% stake in Chime Communications
Analysis based on company websites and/or publicly available annual reports.

Between them these 15 account for £505m or approximately 65% of the total fee income of the Top 150 of £781m. As you can see of the Top 10 only Brunswick and Edelman are not part of a wider group.

So why the title of the post? I suspect you have already worked this out, but if you haven’t it is because if each parent above were treated as an individual entry then the number of entries on the rankings would fall by 25. This revised listing would then fit the Pareto principle a lot more closely.

2 thoughts on “150 equals 125? The Alternative PR Week 150

  1. Adam – would be good if we could get a league table based on profit figures rather than top line revenue (a subject I’ve bored for Britain on in the past). If Plimsoll’s figures are believed than 33pc of agencies generate 100pc of the top 1000 agencies profits. And if margins range from 2pc to 25pc, then this suggests that a small minority of agencies generate most of the industry’s profits (which would support a Pareto/Koch 80/20 analysis). Anyway, great blog – look forward to more good posts!

  2. Thanks for dropping by Andrew and glad you like the blog :)

    I agree it would be very interesting to analyse profit – as the saying goes “turnover vanity, profit sanity etc”. However profit figures are a little more problematic to get at due to various reporting issues. For instance one can establish from WPP’s 2007 annual report that the PR segment of their business made £104m on total turnover of £641m. But this is a worldwide figure and there is no requirement to sub analyse this segment of their business in geographic terms. (Geographic reporting is only required across the business as a whole). Also to the extent that the individual subsidiary accounts are available e.g. H&K Limited, the accounts may have intra group management charges etc that would not necessarily be readily visible (there is an exemption available for this).

    Finally for privately owned agencies there is the potential for “lifestyle” elements causing depressed margins through owner managers taking out remuneration (in various forms) that exceeds the “market” rate.

    But I will ponder on it. Always up for a challenge :)

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