Diana Marszalek 20 Apr 2021 // 2:00PM GMT
NEW YORK — Omnicom PR agency revenue was down 3.5% in the first quarter of 2021, after a slight uptick in business at the end of last year.
In its Q1 earnings report, the holding company reported Omnicom as a whole saw worldwide revenue in the first quarter of 2021 increase 0.6% to $3,426.9 million from $3,406.9 million in the first quarter of 2020.
During Q1, Omnicom PR Group — which includes FleishmanHillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli —fared better than some disciplines including CRM commerce and brand consulting, which decreased 4.2%; CRM experiential, which decreased 33.2%; and CRM execution & support, which decreased 13.3%. Advertising, however, increased 1.2%, CRM precision marketing increased 7.2%, and healthcare was flat.
Tuesday’s report follows the notably positive turn Omnicom’s PR agencies saw in Q4 2020, when the group’s revenue rose 0.2%, the first reported uptick in business since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last March. The group which saw revenue drop 3.4% in Q3 of 2020 and 13.5% during Q2, the height of the pandemic shutdown.
All of which occurred against the backdrop of Omnicom and its agencies, including its PR firms, implementing layoffs and furloughs around the world in response to business drying up.
Omnicom included the following Covid-19 business update in its report:
The negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic began to have a significant impact on our businesses late in the first quarter of 2020. In the beginning of 2021, we continued to experience the negative impact of the pandemic on our organic revenue compared to the same period in the prior year. However, the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy appears to be moderating in several of our markets, and we expect to achieve positive organic revenue growth beginning in the second quarter of this year and for the full year 2021.
As long as the Covid-19 pandemic remains a public health threat, global economic conditions will continue to be volatile depending on several factors, including new information concerning the severity of the pandemic, government actions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in the near-term, and the resulting impact on our clients' spending plans. We expect global economic performance and the performance of our businesses to vary by geography and discipline until the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy moderates. We continuously assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and adjust our response related to changes in our business.
In the second quarter of 2020, we took steps to strengthen our liquidity and financial position that were intended to mitigate any potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our liquidity. Among other things, we issued $600 million of 4.2% Senior Notes due 2030 and entered into a $400 million 364-day revolving credit facility, or 364 Day Credit Facility, and we suspended our share repurchase activity. The 364 Day Credit Facility expired without ever being drawn on April 2, 2021.