Beijing Olympics and US election are driving revenue for WPP

The Beijing Olympics and the US presidential election will drive revenue for the rest of 2008, according to WPP Group, but the marketing services group warns the outlook appears less certain for next year.

The company has reported a 15.1% increase in pre-tax profits to £339m for the six months to June 30. Its like-for-like revenue rose by 4.3% over the period, boosted by strong growth in emerging markets. In the UK, like-for-like revenue rose by 2.5%.

It says media continues to show the strongest growth of all its services, along with digital, direct, interactive, public relations, insight and consultancy also doing well. Digital and direct activities now account for 25% of the group’s total revenues.

In the first half of 2008, almost 55% of WPP’s revenues were derived from activities outside advertising and media investment, compared to 53% last year.

The group says levels of activity for 2008 should match those in 2007 and adds that there are “significant” new business opportunities.

The company claims that, despite economic uncertainty, some of its clients take the view that cutting brand spending at this point would be too costly in the long term, but the company says that prospects for 2009 were less certain, particularly in the US and western Europe.

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