Big PR agencies hit by downturn [London Evening Standard]
(Evening Standard (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 06--WPP's 1 percent slide in annual revenues at its public relations division, home of agencies Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton and RLM Finsbury, is proof the industry is feeling the squeeze, as these pages have suggested for some time. "It's a custom business, it's a project business. There's no doubt discretionary spend is under pressure in mature markets," says WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell. What's significant is PR has hit a plateau, after years of growth, including the 2008-9 credit crunch. Sorrell says PR and public affairs fell partly because of a drop-off in lobbying during the US Presidential election. The UK still saw "strong growth". But are the new wave of nimble PR start-ups better suited to handling the world of social media than big, established agencies
It's the rise of the bloggers: First, Conservative Home founder Tim Montgomerie is made comment editor of The Times. Now LBC has given Iain Dale a bigger 4pm-8pm weekday slot, after the abrupt exit of James Whale.
A stream of leaks about the next series of ITV's Downton Abbey has got producers worried, after news emerged about Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Harriet Walter joining the cast. Gareth Neame, head of producer Carnival Films, has sent an email to actors' agents, pleading with them to keep details secret.
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