Friday, April 22, 2005

Spend your way to happiness

Advertising goliath WPP reported Q1 numbers today, and I always enjoy looking at the revenue growth in terms of industry segmentation (slide 11 of this pack):

>15% - Computer, drinks, electrical, financial services, personal care and drugs
5 - 10% - Auto, food, telecom
<5% - Oil

It's telling that the oil advertising revenue growth is below 5% YoY, while telecom is in the 5 - 10% range. Both are commodities, but oil has pricing power based on a very real scarcity. Why advertise it? It sells itself, at any price. Meanwhile the electronics and telecom folks are going great guns to push their commodity products and services, where the term "pricing power" prompts sniggers or fond memories of days gone by.

Cingular, LG and Texas Instruments alone accounted for over a quarter of WPP's new billings in the quarter, or $350m. A personal observation is that Orange, Vodafone and Sky between them seem to have bought most of the outdoor space in greater London, HomeChoice seems to be doing a lot of banners, and Barcelona Airport should be renamed Movistar International, as far as I could see on Tuesday when I flew out.

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