Sir Martin Sorrell speaks

Speaking to Marketing Week sister title Pitch, WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has dismissed supposed tensions between old media and new media saying that they are “increasingly being integrated” and believes the integration process will continue “over time”.

Speaking exclusively to Pitch, his comments on the changing media landscape follow his company’s encouraging results for the first half of the year.

Sorrell told Pitch that he is satisfied with the results, but is still pragmatic about the future. He also took the opportunity to talk up WPP’s resurgence in traditional media, which grew by more than 6% in the second quarter after a drop of almost 10% last year. WPP’s first-half results were further bolstered by a strong turnaround in the US market.

“We have to look at it in the context of last year, the first half of last year was extremely difficult,” says Sorrell. “It is also positive we are seeing growth in the US and in traditional markets.”

Like-for-like revenues in the US improved from a drop of 6% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to growth of 4% in the first quarter of 2010 and 8% in the second quarter. Sorrell says he can not remember a speedier recovery in a region in the 25 years of his company’s existence.

When asked what the biggest areas of growth would be for WPP for the rest of the year, Sorrell predicted they would be “new markets, new media and consumer insight”.

Sorrell stands by his predictions that the UK is in course to avoid a double-dip recession, saying: “We don’t believe there will be a double dip recession, but it will be a slog”.

In WPP’s half-year financial report, the firm said it expected the global recovery to be L-shaped in Western Europe. An L-shaped recession refers to a sharp drop, followed by slow and stagnant growth.

This story first appeared on Pitch, Centaur’s subscription-based online interactive marketplace for agencies and clients to share news, opinion and debate.

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