Interpublic Group, home to Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, and other PR and advertising agencies, reported first quarter revenue of $1.51 billion, an increase from $1.47 billion in 2011. Organic growth was 2.8 percent.
The company’s operating loss was $39.4 million, a decrease year-over-year from $45.3 million, showing improvement. Net loss was $45.9 million versus $48.1 million in 2011. The Wall Street Journal reports that “in February Standard & Poor’s raised its rating outlook on Interpublic to positive from stable, citing the company’s progress toward improving profitability and credit metrics.”
Harris Diamond, the CEO of IPG’s Constituency Management Group (CMG), housing the company’s PR firms, says its figures were strong with organic revenue at 8.6 percent and overall growth at 10 percent.
“Clients are more than willing to let us work on issues that in the past went to other agencies in the marcomms space,” he told us over the phone.
A highlight for the quarter was content creation, with the company’s firms called upon to perform an array of tasks in this area including manage social media, engage with clients digitally, create videos, and write for blogs.
With other firms talking with us about some of the media buying activities that they’re involved with, we asked Diamond if that’s a growing part of the CMG business. Because of online platforms like Pinterest and Facebook, it’s something that the CMG firms are doing, but Diamond said he “didn’t want to overstate it.”
“There are opportunities now in conjunction with programs,” he told us, likening it to public affairs, where purchasing things like advertorials is common.
Both Diamond and IPG CEO Michael Rothare looking forward to a good 2012.
“Our performance during the first quarter was solid and represents a good start in meeting our goals for 2012,” Roth said in a statement. “Once again, we demonstrated disciplined cost management. We are on track to deliver on our financial targets for the year.”
Adweek notes that IPG has “historically” had issues with the first quarter, but “net losses have declined over time.”