Earnings: Publicis' 2012 Digital Goal On Track, But Spend To Fall This Year

This story was written by Patrick Smith.
Publicis Groupe, one of the largest advertising and marketing groups in the world, says it is on track to make a quarter of its total revenues from online by 2012. In its full-year 2008 results released today the Paris-based company says it grew its digital businesses across the world so that online now accounts for 19 percent of total revenues, compared to 15 percent last year.

Full year, Q4 earnings: The company made a net profit of 447 million ($578 million) compared to 452 million ($585 million) in 2007, on revenues 0.7 percent higher at 4.7 billion ($6.08 billion). The company enjoyed organic growth for the year of 3.8 percent. But that growth had slowed by Q4, when the company made 1.37 billion ($1.77 billion), a 5.5 percent rise year on yearbut only 1.1 percent organic growth compared to Q308

Outlook: CEO Maurice Levey told a news conference (via Reuters.com) that he expected ad spent to drop between two and three percent this year. To explain the company's shrinking revenues, the report points to research from ZenithOptimedia predicting that global ad spend will drop at least 1.8 percent this year. Levy has said he doesn't expect the ad industry to look much healthier before 2010.

Emerging markets: As with most big-league ad companies, the biggest growth for Publicis last year came from emerging markets like China and Brazil which accounted for 22.9 percent of the group's total revenues, compared with 21.3 percent in 2007. The company says it's on track to make a quarter of its revenues from developing nations by 2012. The company expects ad spend to rise 10 percent in Brazil and 8.8 percent in China but United States will see a 6.3 percent drop this year and the UK a four percent decline.

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By Patrick Smith
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