Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Whoops! Are Reports of the Ad Recovery Greatly Exaggerated?

sunshine-cloudHere’s the counterpoint to Publicis’s mildly optimistic take on the ad market yesterday: Rival ad holding company Interpublic Group’s (IPG) report, which is mildly pessimistic.

The company’s organic growth–sales after netting out acquisitions and currency fluctuations–dropped 14.2 percent, just barely better than the 14.5 percent it posted the previous quarter.

That is “less sequential progress in the quarter than we hope to see,” CEO Michael Roth deadpanned. On the plus side, his agencies are having nice chats:

However, it’s fair to say that the tone of our conversations with clients concerning the economy is improving. However, we’ve not seen this yet converted to consistent commitments to new or existing projects. Therefore, it looks as if the pace of the recovery will be gradual and that significantly improving organic revenue performance for the whole of 2009 compared to the first nine months performance will be challenging.

In the end, Roth gave more or less the same report that we’ve seen most other places that aren’t in the search ad business dominated by Google (GOOG): He argued that “the worst is over,” but he thinks any significant improvement won’t show up until 2010.

Alas, that kind of muted hopefulness isn’t nearly enough to save any jobs during this fall’s media layoff season, which kicked off this week as my former employers at Forbes took an ax–yet again–to that company’s payroll. On the schedule: Cuts at the New York Times (NYT), Time Warner’s (TWX) Time Inc. and at Bloomberg’s newly acquired BusinessWeek.