Hopes rise as advertising sector begins to stabilise

Steve Dinneen
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WPP, the world’s largest advertising group by revenue, sees calmer seas ahead after a turbulent year.

The second half of the year is expected to be “less worse”, according to chief executive Martin Sorrell. He said the markets began to stabilise in the second half of 2009.

The firm, which reports its annual results on Friday, was badly hit by the financial crisis, as clients tightened their belts.

Sorrell also forecast organic growth for the second quarter of 2010, but said revenues would remain flat. He said a head of steam has not been built up by the industry yet and the results were “nothing to be proud of.”

He said: “November was significantly different in terms of being less worse.

“We’ve moved from a period of staring into the abyss to less worse and now stabilisation. Budgets are flat for next year but we'll see some growth.”

Sorrell also outlined plans to increase the amount of revenue gleaned through digital advertising from a quarter to a third.

He added that he expects to see significant market consolidation among firms hoping to reduce costs to combat the advertising downturn.