WPP trading in line

Advertising giant WPP said trading in August was in line with the first seven months of the year despite the tough economic climate.

Chief executive Martin Sorrell gave an upbeat view of the company’s performance at a Royal Television Society conference.

The company said like-for-like sales were up 5.9 per cent for the period January to July, slightly below its annual forecast of 6 per cent.

Fast-growing markets such as China and India, along with strength in the US market have contributed to the results, while free-to-air advertising has also remained strong, the company said.

Sorrell said that 2012 spending would be firm due to the impact of the Olympics and the US presidential election.

However, he said that clients had been affected by the relentless bad news about the economy: "They are human beings and they are going to be more cautious.”

He was more concerned about 2013, when the incoming US president will have to cope with the ballooning budget deficit.

He also expressed reservations about the potential of social networking for the
advertising industry, saying that the context was often not right for receiving adverts.

He said that it had proved harder to develop advertising for Apple’s iPad than expected.

However he remains hopeful that this will change, saying “We are both missing an opportunity. There is an opportunity to develop more revenue for media channels that need the revenue and more opportunities for our clients.”