A few years ago, digital marketers dreamed of the day e-commerce would drop the 'e' and become just a regular part of doing business, as much a part of the marketing mix as the TV or poster campaign.
Dreams can come true. Our 2003 survey of digital agencies highlights the fact that e-business is becoming integrated into everything firms do.
Several US-owned agencies have been unable to take part in the leagues this year because of reporting restrictions imposed on them by their parent companies. The groups say they have been obliged to take this step by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, corporate governance legislation passed in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals.
Turnover for these agencies ranges from £518m in 2002 to £2.5m in 2001, but is not broken down, so new media billings are unknown. A table of these agencies and their turnover according to Companies House figures can be seen on page 32.
Also notable by its absence from the table is new media giant AKQA, which has been unable to split out UK figures, and therefore unable to take part in Marketing's New Media Leagues, ever since its £48m deal with Accenture in January 2001.
According to Christopher Ward, divisional managing director of Clark McKay and Walpole Interactive, integration continues to emerge as a key factor in how clients are choosing their digital supplier.
"About 70% of the work we produce is integrated, either through our parent or through the client's ad agencies," he says. "Clients want proof that we can work strategically and logistically with other agencies."
But while clients may finally be treating the web as a grown-up medium, that alone is not enough cause to crack open the champagne. While they say 2003 is looking better than 2002 in revenue terms, budgets are still tight, and while clients seem to have more faith in the medium they are, on the whole, still nervous about raising their level of investment.
"The green shoots are there, but they are not yet developing into bigger budgets," says Philip Hunt, chief executive of Wheel Group, top of last year's table and second this time, with a turnover just shy of £9.5m.
That may look like small beer compared with last year's £19m, but those with long memories will recall that this time last year, Hunt said 2002's revenues would be substantially down on 2001 and that from January 2002, business had been building again.
Hunt's confidence comes from a number of wins, including BT, IKEA and Opodo, but he concedes that among existing clients, some budgets remain under pressure. Still, that didn't stop Wheel from absorbing It's Not Rocket Science into the group in spring, following last year's acquisition of Abel & Baker.
A trend over the past 12 months, says Hunt, has been a shift in the type of projects the company is receiving toward accountable and measurable work to drive visitors to web sites and increase their propensity to spend once they are there.
And as marketers come to terms with the idea of the web as "just another channel", Hunt says that Wheel finds itself working with other agencies.
"Collaboration is more important than ever," he says. "We have always talked about the necessity of an integrated approach and, to be fair, our big clients always had this."
Nevertheless, Hunt says that if and when Wheel does hit the acquisition trail again, it is unlikely to court agencies with offline skills. "The type of offline business we are most like in terms of what we do is a store designer, and the science of offline store design is different," he says. "There are some fundamental differences in the digital world, so we will always keep that specialism."
Wheel is beaten into second place this year by SBI and Company, with new media revenues of £10.7m. The name may be unfamiliar to many UK marketers, but Scient, as SBI was in a former life, will ring a few bells. SBI managing director Steve Callaghan says the past 12 months have been an exciting time for the company and shares Hunt's cautious optimism.
"This year has seen something of a return to a better market for interactive consultancies as clients look forward to 2004 with some confidence," says Callaghan. "Projects put on hold for economic reasons are resurfacing. We have seen steady growth through 2003 and are looking forward to sustaining it in the medium term."
SBI finance director Ralph Wilson says the company's digital revenues come primarily from three sources: design and build of web sites; integrated marketing; and intranets.
"Our work is project-based, typically taking between two and six months, and usually not requiring maintenance or support thereafter," says Wilson.
"We try to start client relationships at the strategy level, helping them assess the best direction for a project, gathering and analysing market data by use of competitor assessment and industry research."
SBI has a User Experience team that develops the optimal information architecture required to support sites' data handling and flow requirements.
On the technology side, it retains a core team of engineers to develop sites. SBI has also created its own content management system, CMS Lite, enabling clients to deploy sites in multiple countries with local update capabilities.
Standout projects so far in 2003 include the European portal country roll-out for an international industrial manufacturer; intranet redesign and information architecture work for a consumer goods manufacturer; redesign of an e-catalogue and web sites of a major sports and leisurewear retailer; and site consolidation for one of the top four UK banks.
Last week, the US SBI Group struck an alliance with Swedish new media agency Framfab in Europe, with the effect that SBI and Company UK will merge with Framfab to better service the European market, with 430 employees across seven countries.
At third-placed Conchango, managing director Mike Altendorf says he is encouraged by the way the web is now seen as "business as usual" by many.
"For retail clients with multi-channel solutions, the web is now a mainstream part of the business," he says. "They see sales uplift without heavy marketing, and they are increasingly integrating their web, call centre and catalogue operations."
Nonetheless, he would like to see "a bit more desire" from clients. "There has been an uplift this year, but it's not been as big as we would have liked," he says. "I thought there would have been a bit more business around, but many clients remain reticent. Budgets are tight and there's not as much desire to innovate as we would like."
Conchango has countered this lack of online activity with more in-store work, deploying web technologies for retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Tesco. For M&S, it has created Intellagent, a web-based transaction-checking and profit protection system. It allows profit protection agents to examine till transactions to look for trends, exceptions, correlations and anomalies.
Incepta is one of only two companies in the top five to have increased its revenue in 2002. In a period when six of the top ten saw turnover fall by a minimum of 32%, Incepta's 18% year-on-year growth looks all the more impressive.
Managing director Phil Eames says the key to the company's growth is focus. "We stick to what we're good at and what we know and want to continue to be known for," he says.
Having good, experienced people helps, says Eames. "If you look at what we do - creative delivery, tracking and analysis on ads, e-mail and SMS - there are a lot of people out there who can deliver the technology," he says.
"What we have tried to do is put serious marketers at the forefront, so we put together a programme that meets what clients are trying to deliver. It's not just an e-mail broadcast, it's something that meets objectives."
If, as many agency chiefs say, clients are not securing the new media budgets agencies would like them to, perhaps it's up to agencies themselves to help their clients win their battles with the bean-counters.
That's the approach Modem Media is taking, according to managing director Michael de Kare-Silver. "We find companies need more strategic marketing guidance, because of the uncertainty the industry has gone through," he says. "Our clients tell us they believe they should be doing more, but they need the business case to persuade their bosses to invest."
Modem now produces regular market reviews for its established clients, outlining best practice, what their competition is up to, and keeping clients informed about what is happening in their market sector.
Given Modem's results in 2002, down to £7.7m from £16.3m in 2001, it's tempting to question whether the strategy is working. But de Kare-Silver says that Modem's 2003 revenues are likely to be up on 2002, and that it is following a long-term plan.
"Clients are setting budgets in a 2002-03 mindset, bringing uncertainty to the table with war, SARS and the tech-bubble burst, so planning for 2004 is relatively conservative," he says. "But barring another war, we expect 2005 to 2007 to be fat years."
Of the work it has done this year, Modem is particularly proud of Hewlett-Packard, for which it has carried out several projects at a strategic and campaign level, and for General Motors on the launch of the Opel Astra.
"With the Opel work, we have combined something leading edge with accessibility and practicality - it's not too tech-driven, " he says.
This notion of usability is high on many digital agencies' agendas. Tied in with the idea of maximising investment, and short of the funds to entertain rebuilds, agencies and clients have spent the past year looking at how users interact with sites.
"People have finally woken up to the fact that you can have the cleverest technology, but if no one knows how to use it, they won't come back. If you have disgruntled users, the whole value proposition has gone," says John Strickland, chairman of Interesource.
With this in mind, DNA Consulting marketing manager Paula Barker says her agency's in-house usability team has had a lot of success during the year, working for clients including COI Communications.
The team works closely with information architects, content writers and designers to improve every aspect of a visitor's experience of a site. "Having the team in-house is important because it allows us to make research recommendations based on a good understanding of the likely technical and design constraints," says Barker.
Belinda Mitchell-Innes, joint managing partner at XM London, which recently came into the WPP fold after the US group's purchase of XM's parent, Cordiant, agrees that usability has become key to the bottom line.
"A lot of people have created sites that no one visits, or where they only stay for five second. With the analytical tools available, clients can see something is wrong, and they are looking at what's good and bad about their sites," she says. "They know consumers are getting more sophisticated. If they don't like a site, they'll just find another."
It is this very accountability that is attracting clients to the web, and convincing seasoned practitioners that they should stay the course.
Dave Moore, head of new media at Dig For Fire, points to research carried out earlier this year by sister company Jaywing showing that 40% of firms were planning to increase their budgets for direct marketing campaigns using e-mail, SMS, digital TV and the internet.
"We also found that more than half of all respondents were under pressure to improve DM performance, despite smaller budgets and staff reductions. This pressure on budgets is playing a part in the popularity of new media, as companies focus on more cost-effective and accountable ways of acquiring and retaining customers," says Moore. "New media has proven itself capable of delivering double-digit response rates consistently, at a more competitive cost."
However accountable a web site is, what if it is out of bounds to a significant proportion of the population, and one with £45bn burning a hole in its pocket every year?
According to government statistics cited by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), that's the combined spending power of the 8.6 million people with disabilities in the UK. Yet many web sites cannot be accessed by this audience, because of the way they have been designed.
Until recently, most digital agencies and their clients have preferred to ignore the problems that users with visual, hearing, or other impairments have with sites. On one level, this reluctance to act is perhaps understandable.
In a world where web sites are trying to grab visitors' attention, is there any value in a site stripped down to its basics just so that more people can interact with it? Alternatively, with budgets still tight, how many companies can justify the investment in a second, stripped-down version of their site, designed purely for people with disabilities?
But the heat has been turned up on digital designers and their clients.
The RNIB has done a good job publicising the fact that sites not accessible to disabled people are technically in breach of the law. It has also succeeded in persuading the British Interactive Media Association to include an RNIB-sponsored Accessibility/Usability Award for the first time, in this year's BIMA Awards.
The effects of the RNIB's work are beginning to be felt by digital designers.
"The biggest requirement across the board is accessibility, and Cimex has invested in obtaining expertise in this area," says Cimex marketing director, Denise Turner. "We are working on sites for Channel 4 and the Department for Education and Skills that will meet accessibility standards."
At Forepoint, design director Keith Noble says: "We have started to place an emphasis on creating accessible sites. Our expertise in this area has enabled us to create a suitable site for our company and a text-only version of the Otelo (Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman) site.
"We are in consultation with other clients regarding redesigning their sites to conform more closely to accessibility standards. With the threat of legal action and the realisation that creating a site that can be accessed by the widest audience is best practice, accessibility will be the word on every web developer's lips by the end of 2003."
XM's Belinda Mitchell-Innes admits that she doesn't know what the answer is to the accessibility conundrum, but argues that in some respects, web designers are not operating on a level playing field. "This will sound terribly unpolitically correct, but in libraries, they have some large text and audio books, while the majority are normal books," she says. "Publishers are not required to put out Braille versions of all the books they publish."
But the broader advantages of an 'accessible' site can be seen in Tesco's (www.tesco.com/access), created not just for people with disabilities, but also for those viewing on older PCs, TV set-top boxes or PDAs. It's refreshingly quick and simple, so long as the user knows what they want and all they want to do is buy it.
With accessibility, accountability, integration and security all keeping agencies and clients on their toes, these are interesting times for the new media industry.
While 2003 has remained tight by the admission of many in the business, it seems the bloodbath of previous years may be at, or close to, an end.
So perhaps those notes of cautious optimism expressed by many agency chiefs can be taken at face value.
David Crawford, client services director at Pilot Interactive, believes there are several reasons to be cheerful. "The new media industry now seems to be on a much greater realistic and commercial footing," he says.
"Having gone through the extremes of boom and bust over the past few years, which were still in evidence even during the last financial year, the industry is growing up, new media companies are becoming smarter and differentials are being created as the market matures and segments. This is fuelled by clients becoming much more aware of the web, its capabilities and what it can and should do for their brands."
NEW MEDIA AGENCIES 1-100
Rnk Agency New media New media %chg % new Staff Digital
t'over 2002 t'over 2001 media spec-
(pounds) (pounds) ialists
1 SBI & Company UK 10,666,667 16,666,667 -36 100 80 70
2 Wheel Group 9,476,000 19,320,000 -51 100 86 86
3 Conchango 9,000,000 14,000,000 -36 75 170 100
4 Incepta Online 8,370,000 7,100,000 18 100 116 96
5 Global Beach Grp 7,800,000 6,200,000 26 100 55 47
6 Oyster Partners 7,780,000 11,664,000 -33 100 100 70
7 Modem Media 7,700,000 16,300,000 -53 100 50 50
8 IS Solutions 7,426,000 10,873,000 -32 100 94 67
9 Haygarth 5,518,845 4,812,794 15 21 142 22
10 Hyperlink 5,411,269 5,153,802 5 100 55 45
11 Carlson Digital 5,100,000 4,100,000 24 100 30 30
12= Interesource 5,000,000 5,200,000 -4 100 80 45
12= Syzygy UK 5,000,000 5,000,000 - 100 64 64
14 Poulter.net 4,500,000 4,220,000 7 100 42 36
15 Profero 4,410,000 8,460,000 -48 100 46 46
16 Rufus Leonard 4,400,000 6,200,000 -29 66 60 50
17 Intercea 4,100,000 2,600,000 58 100 55 55
18 Babel Media 3,700,000 1,700,000 118 100 55 20
19 Realise 3,626,000 2,900,000 25 100 39 39
20 3T Productions 3,610,414 2,618,114 38 100 74 27
21 Dealgroupmedia 3,499,000 724,000 383 100 31 27
22 Freestyle New 3,476,524 2,700,000 29 100 73 24
23 Aspect Group 3,440,000 4,720,000 -27 80 49 30
24 DNA Consulting 3,400,000 3,370,000 1 100 40 35
25 XM London 3,200,000 5,588,000 -43 100 35 35
26 Lightmaker 3,170,000 2,680,000 18 100 28 28
27 Craik Jones 3,042,344 n/a n/a 100 16 16
28 Complete 3,010,000 3,080,000 -2 35 118 32
29 Digitas 2,940,000 2,460,000 20 60 42 11
30 Clark McKay & 2,856,111 2,193,123 30 95 19 19
31 Reading Room 2,811,399 2,506,712 12 100 55 55
32 Javelin Group 2,700,000 2,100,000 29 100 30 30
33 Big Picture 2,656,495 2,350,500 13 100 44 35
34 LIDA 2,649,952 2,783,383 -5 34 50 21
35 Victoria Real 2,600,000 4,300,000 -40 100 45 45
36 Gurus 2,580,000 2,340,000 10 60 15 11
37 Lawton eMarketing 2,500,000 1,750,000 43 100 30 22
38 M-Corp 2,400,000 2,400,000 - 100 22 14
39 The Edge 2,389,019 1,997,772 20 50 26 38
40 Abacus e-media 2,360,000 1,900,000 24 100 26 23
41 Domino Systems 2,219,373 2,691,754 -18 100 51 44
42 Interactive1 2,195,405 3,747,323 -41 100 30 21
43 Dowcarter 2,183,625 2,206,186 -1 100 53 53
44 E3 Media 2,100,000 1,200,000 75 100 35 35
45 Write Image 2,098,667 2,585,045 -19 30 113 41
46 The Big Group 2,093,000 2,208,000 -5 18 40 8
47 Digiterre 2,000,000 980,000 104 100 20 20
48 IDNet 1,961,960 1,122,000 75 100 18 15
49 WIN (Wireless 1,950,000 3,525,000 -45 75 40 35
50= 12snap UK 1,900,000 300,000 533 100 20 10
50= Tullo Marshall 1,900,000 1,400,000 36 13
52 DLKW Dialogue 1,831,912 1,159,672 58 90 10 9
53 Atticmedia 1,800,000 1,400,000 29 100 38 36
54 Glue London 1,650,000 1,116,000 48 100 35 32
55 Equi=Media 1,647,236 1,098,158 50 85 14 9
56 Greenroom Digital 1,615,000 209,000 673 95 7 4
57= NetInfo 1,500,000 1,815,110 -17 100 25 20
57= Recreate 1,500,000 500,000 200 100 10 7
59 Graphico New Media 1,423,388 1,263,245 13 100 23 22
60 The Hub 1,410,134 4,262,743 -67 100 23 8
61= Cramm Francis 1,400,000 1,475,000 -5 25 45 7
61= Screen Pages 1,400,000 1,200,000 17 100 25 22
63 Lateral 1,385,244 1,216,705 14 100 26 25
64 Grey Interactive 1,368,000 2,490,000 -45 100 16 16
65 Pilot Interactive 1,342,208 1,412,708 -5 100 18 16
66 Broadband 1,300,000 n/a n/a 100 13 6
67 Beech2 1,270,000 1,200,000 6 100 14 10
68 Groovy Train 1,250,000 1,000,000 25 100 16 14
69 Intelfax 1,243,406 1,506,730 -17 35 25 12
70 Chemistry 1,221,646 1,056,625 16 12.5 93 18
71 Bostock & Pollitt 1,213,960 1,236,517 -2 35 26 9
72 KMP Associates 1,200,000 1,400,000 -14 100 20 15
73 Redweb 1,189,000 1,074,773 11 100 22 15
74 Moonfish 1,188,889 1,124,871 6 100 26 23
75 NetConstruct 1,169,820 853,170 37 97 25 15
76 Cimex Media 1,139,887 1,706,660 -33 100 30 27
77 Perceptor 1,100,754 1,517,010 -27 100 13 13
78 Fernhart New Media 1,100,000 985,000 12 100 10 10
79 Technophobia 1,097,440 805,837 36 100 34 20
80 MagneticNorth 1,072,303 1,230,754 -13 100 17 17
81 SAS 1,047,200 1,364,000 -23 40 30 10
82= Fortune Cookie 1,000,000 1,500,000 -33 100 8 6
82= I-D Media London 1,000,000 660,000 52 100 11 9
84 Swordfish 982,468 711,360 38 90 16 11
85 Worth Media 976,500 1,250,000 -22 100 20 18
86 Sequence 920,000 720,000 28 100 28 28
87 Dare Digital 889,000 800,000 20 100 25 20
88 WDPA 870,000 780,000 12 60 18 5
89 Precedent 860,896 1,560,234 -45 60 35 10
90 FullSIX 797,867 329,256 142 100 35 34
91 Panlogic 794,084 844,372 -6 100 11 11
92 Tableau 790,000 928,186 -15 70 20 7
93 Twentyfirst Century 756,000 991,440 -24 36 33 9
94 Unit9 750,000 560,000 34 100 14 14
95 Shelton Fleming 745,329 691,435 8 30 17 4
96 4i 736,825 912,988 -19 20 42 20
97 Nucleus 715,000 923,000 -23 65 17 17
98 Headtohead web 696,057 384,315 81 30 14 4
99 Forepoint 680,000 600,000 13 40 20 4
100 Poke 660,000 n/a n/a 100 8 8
1 SBI & Company UK
Founded 1997. Subsidiary of SBI and Company. MD Steve Callaghan.
Clients include Lloyds TSB Group. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
2 Wheel Group
Founded 1987. Subsidiary of Primedia. CEO Philip Hunt, MD Ewen
Sturgeon. Clients include BT. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1991. Privately owned. MDs Richard Thwaite and Mike
Altendorf. Clients include Virgin Atlantic. E-mail
4 Incepta Online
Founded 2000. Subsidiary of Incepta Group. MD Philip Eames.
Clients include ABN AMRO. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
5 Global Beach Grp
Founded 1993. Privately owned. CEO Clive Jackson. Clients include
Jaguar Cars. E-mail email@example.com,
6 Oyster Partners
Founded 1992. Privately owned. Chairman Richard King. Clients
include BT. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.oyster.com
7 Modem Media
Founded 1997. Subsidiary of Modem Media. Joint MDs Marc
Particelli, Michael de Kare-Silver. Clients include Unilever.
E-mail email@example.com, www.modemmedia.com
8 IS Solutions
Founded 1985. MD John Lythall. Clients include Toyota GB. E-mail
Founded 1984. Subsidiary of High Co. Chairman Stephen Morris.
Clients include Columbia TriStar. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
10 Hyperlink Interactive
Founded 1994. Wholly owned subsidiary of Cable & Wireless. MD
James Steventon. Clients include Goldfish.
11 Carlson Digital
Founded 1990. Interactive arm of Carlson Marketing Group. Head Jed
Murphy. Clients include Diageo.
E-mail Jed.Murphy@carlson-europe.com, www.carlson-europe.com
12= Interesource New Media
Founded 1995. Privately owned. Chairman John Strickland. Clients
include London Stock Exchange. E-mail
12= Syzygy UK
Founded 1995. Subsidiary of Syzygy AG. MD Stephen Priestnall.
Clients include DaimlerChrysler. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Managing partner Mark Saxby.
Clients include Midland Mainline. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Chairman/CEO Daryl Arnold. Clients
include COI Communications. E-mail email@example.com,
16 Rufus Leonard
Founded 1989. Privately owned. CEO Neil Svensen. Clients include
Shell Chemicals. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 2002 (formerly Integra, Founded 1991). Privately owned. MD
Tim Dunger. Clients include Vodafone. E-mail email@example.com,
18 Babel Media
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Algy Williams. Clients include
Vodafone. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.babelmedia.com
Founded 1994. Privately owned. MD Gavin Nicholson.Clients include
Standard Life. E-mail email@example.com, www.realise.com
20 3T Productions
Founded 1982. Subsidiary of RM. MD David Eccles. Clients include
Department for Education and Skills. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 2000. Privately owned. MD Adrian Moss. Clients include
RAC. E-mail email@example.com, www.dealgroupmedia.com
22 Freestyle New Media Grp
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Clients include Rover. E-mail
23 Aspect Group
Founded 1995. Privately owned. Chairman Dr Christopher Honeyborne.
Clients include handbag.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
24 DNA Consulting
Founded 1995. Privately owned. Chairman Russell Jarman-Price.
Clients include Standard Life. E-mail email@example.com,
25 XM London
Founded 1994. Wholly owned subsidiary of WPP Group. Chairman
Dennis Kerslake. Clients include Ladbrokes. E-mail
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Founder Adrian Barrett, MD Rob
Noble. Clients include Nintendo. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
27 Craik Jones Digital
Founded 2002 (1994 as Arawak). Subsidiary of AMV BBDO. MD Nick
Corston. Clients include Gordon's Gin. E-mail
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Max Sherwood, creative director
Mark Coombes. Clients include Argos. E-mail
Founded 1980. Subsidiary of Digitas Inc. Chairman David Kenny.
Clients include Royal Bank of Scotland. E-mail
30 Clark McKay and Walpole Interactive
Founded 2000. Trading division of Clark McKay and Walpole. MD
Christopher Ward. Clients include flybe. E-mail email@example.com,
31 Reading Room
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Joint CEOs Margaret Manning, Simon
Usher. Clients include AOL. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
32 Javelin Group
Founded 1998. Privately owned. MD Tony Stockil. Clients include BT
Retail. E-mail email@example.com, www.javelingroup.com
33 Big Picture Interactive
Founded 1994. CEO James Edwards. Clients include Unilever. E-mail
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Chairman Nick Hurrell, CEO Lisa
Thomas. Clients include Nestle. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
35 Victoria Real
Founded 1990. Wholly owned by Endemol UK. Chairman Peter Cowley.
Clients include Camelot. E-mail Jason.email@example.com,
Founded 1997. Privately owned. MD Ifty Ahmed, creative director
John Bjergfelt. Clients include Reuters. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
37 Lawton eMarketing
Founded 1999. Part of privately owned Lawton Communications Group.
Clients include EA Games. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1992. Privately owned. MD Lyndon Stickley. Clients include
Microsoft Business Solutions. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
39 The Edge Picture Co
Founded 1991. Privately Owned. Chairman/FD Marjorie Blake. Clients
include Lloyds TSB. E-mail email@example.com,
40 Abacus e-media
Founded 1977. Subsidiary of Wilmington Group. MD Steve Feigen.
Clients include Vivendi Universal Publishing. E-mail
41 Domino Systems
Founded 1995. Privately owned. Chairman Carl Christensen. Clients
include Subaru World Rally Team. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 1997. Privately owned. MD George Mackintosh, FD Stewart
Gilmour. Clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers. E-mail
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Clients include Tesco. E-mail
44 E3 Media
Founded 1997. Privately owned. Joint MDs Mike Bennett and Stuart
Avery. Clients include Orange. E-mail email@example.com,
45 Write Image
Founded 1988. Privately owned. MD Steve Ellis. Clients include
Microsoft. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.write-image.com
46 The Big Group
Founded 1991. Privately owned. Chairman Nick Scott. Clients
include MasterCard. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Ian Murrin. Clients include
Dunlop Sports. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.digiterre.com
Founded 1996. Joint MDs Simon Davies, Tim Davies. Clients include
BBCi. E-mail email@example.com, web www.idnet.net
49 WIN (Wireless Information Network)
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Chairman Richard Joyce. Clients
include Vodafone. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.winplc.com
50= 12snap UK
Founded 2000. Subsidiary of 12snap AG. Chairman Michael Birkel.
Clients include Cadbury. E-mail email@example.com,
50= Tullo Marshall Warren
Founded 1987. Privately owned. MD Chris Warren. Clients include
Diageo. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.digitaltmw.co.uk
52 DLKW Dialogue
Founded 2001. Privately owned. Managing partners Simon Andrews,
Steve Griffiths. Clients include Vauxhall. E-mail
Founded 1996. Privately owned. MD Mark Weber. Clients include BBC.
E-mail email@example.com, www.atticmedia.com
54 Glue London
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Mark Cridge. Clients include COI
Communications. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gluelondon.com
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Andrew Burgess. Clients include
Eclipse Holidays. E-mail Info@equimedia.co.uk, www.equimedia.co.uk
56 Greenroom Digital
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Chairman Nick Hamm. Clients include
Twentieth Century Fox. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1995. Privately owned. CEO Shamus Kelly. Clients include
Freeserve. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.netinfo.com
57= Recreate Solutions Europe
Founded 2000.Subsidiary of Recreate Solutions (Mauritius). Clients
include Insead. E-mail email@example.com,
59 Graphico New Media
Founded 1990. Privately owned. MD Mark Bennett. Clients include
Pepsi. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.graphico.co.uk
60 The Hub
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MD Sam Rudder. Clients include
Deutsche Post UK. E-mail email@example.com,
61= Cramm Francis Woolf
Founded 1993. Privately owned. Chairman/managing partner Paul
Woolf. Clients include Department of Health. E-mail kevin
61= Screen Pages
Founded 1997. Privately owned. Chairman Phil Hollingdale. Clients
include FCUK. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.screenpages.com
Founded 1997. Privately owned. Chairman Jon Bains. Clients include
Levi's Europe. E-mail email@example.com, www.lateral.net
64 Grey Interactive
Founded 1996. Subsid of Grey Global Group. Chairman Peter
Thompson. Clients include GlaxoSmithKline. E-mail
65 Pilot Interactive
Founded 1996. Subsidiary of Principles Communications. Clients
include Walt Disney TV Intl. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
66 Broadband Comms Europe
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MD Christopher Searson. Clients
include Coors Brewers. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1999. Subsidiary of Hawkeye Europe. Chairman Philip
Beeching. Clients include HMV. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
68 Groovy Train
Founded 2000. Privately owned. MD Paul Grier, creative director
Jaki Porter. Clients include Adidas. E-mail
69 Intelfax Interactive
Founded 1982. Privately owned subsidiary of Intelmedia. MD Bill
Skirrow. Clients include Channel 4. E-mail
70 Chemistry Communications Group
Founded 2000. Publicly quoted. CEO Joe Garton. Clients include
Diageo. E-mail email@example.com,
71 Bostock and Pollitt
Founded 1987. Privately owned. Chief executive David Chapple.
Clients include BT. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
72 KMP Associates
Founded 1991. Privately owned. Chairman Bill Daring. Clients
include Welsh Development Agency. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1996. Privately owned. MD Andrew Henning. Clients include
Norwich Union. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.redweb.co.uk
Founded 1994. Privately owned. MD Kate Drewett. Clients include
Swinton Insurance. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1994. Privately owned. MD Steve Puxley. Clients include
Channel 4. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.cimex.com
76 Cimex Media
Founded 1995. Privately owned. MD David Bentley. Clients include
Historic Houses Association. E-mail
Founded 2001. Subsidiary of The Triangle Group. Clients include
DHL Worldwide Express. E-mail email@example.com,
78 Fernhart New Media
Founded 1996. Privately owned. MD Daren Forsyth. Clients include
BSkyB. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fernhart.com
Founded 1995. Privately owned. Directors Amelia Thorne, Pip
Thorne. Clients include Welcome Break. E-mail
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Joint MDs Lou Cordwell, Janet
Harrison. Clients include Coca-Cola Enterprises. E-mail
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Jeremy Sice. Clients include
Electrolux Group. E-mail email@example.com,
82= Fortune Cookie
Founded 1997. Privately owned. Founder/MD Justin Cooke. Clients
include Legal & General. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
82= I-D Media London
Founded 1999. Subsidiary of I-D Media Ag. MD/FD Ron Korczak.
Clients include Financial Times. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Chairman Mark Whitmore, MD Steve
Richards. Clients include BBC. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
85 Worth Media
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Chairman John Worth. Clients
include Channel 4 Learning. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1995. Privately MD Richard Baker. Clients include
Volkswagen. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.sequence.co.uk
87 Dare Digital
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Chairman John Bartle (non-exec).
Clients include Barclays. E-mail email@example.com,
88 WDPA Communications
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Russell Abbott. Clients include
Radisson Edwardian Hotels. E-mail Info@wdpa.co.uk, www.wdpa.co.uk
89 Precedent Communications
Founded 1989. Privately owned. MD Paul Hoskins. Clients include
Bluewater. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.precedent.co.uk
Founded 2001. Subsidiary of Inferentia Group. CEO Stacia Smales
Hill. Clients include Orange. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Chairman William Wemyss. Clients
include Honda. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 1993. Privately owned. Chairman Norman Sheffield. Clients
include Sainsbury's. E-mail email@example.com,
93 Twentyfirst Century Communications
Founded 1987. Privately owned. MD Brian Michael. Clients include
Hilton Group. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.twentyfirst.com
Founded 1997. Privately owned. MD Mark Iremonger. Clients include
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. E-mail email@example.com,
95 Shelton Fleming Associates
Founded 1982. Privately owned. MD Maurice Fleming. Clients include
Sony. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 1984. Privately owned. MD Stephen Izatt. Clients include
Agent Provocateur. E-mail email@example.com, www.4i.co.uk
Founded 1978. Privately owned. MD Peter Matthews. Clients include
Cable & Wireless. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nucleus.co.uk
98 Headtohead web
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Managing partners Rod Geoghegan,
Walter Denny. Clients include BUPA. E-mail
email@example.com, web www.headtoheadweb.com
Founded 1992. Privately owned. MD Simon Bailey. Clients include
BNFL. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.forepoint.co.uk
Founded 2002. Privately owned. Managing partners Peter Beech, Nick
Farnhill, Tom Hostler, Iain Tait. Clients include Coty Rimmel.
E-mail email@example.com, www.pokelondon.com
While most agencies talk of a return to form during 2003, their turnover figures paint a picture of some modest growth during 2002. Six of the top ten agencies saw their 2002 turnover fall compared with 2001, and only four improved year on year. But in the top 20 it evens out, with ten agencies up and nine down on the previous year. In the top 30 there are 16 agencies that increased their turnover, against 12 that saw it fall.
As is ever the case with any table showing growth, smaller companies tend to lead the way, as modest rises look all the more impressive when seen against a smaller starting point.
Even so, Greenroom Digital's spurt is impressive. To put things in perspective, that 2001 turnover would have put the company in 116th place in this year's table. As it is, it finished just six places outside the top 50.
The key to the company's growth, says creative director Jon Hamm, is PR at its most basic level. "We work hard to deliver interesting campaigns and, as a result, our clients recommended us to other companies. Word of mouth has played an important part in our growth," he says.
Such rapid growth is rarely painless, but Hamm says the company spent 2001 holding back and preparing for the growth so that when it came, the hardest part was finding enough people of the right calibre.
Second-fastest grower is mobile marketing agency 12snap, whose turnover grew from £300,000 in 2001 to just under £2m in 2002. The growth was fuelled by mobile marketing's gradual move into the mainstream.
Among larger agencies, the most impressive performance came from Babelmedia, which more than doubled its turnover to £3.7m in 2002. The success, says managing director Algy Williams, is related to the rapid growth being seen in the interactive games industry.
While few would call 2002 a boom year, or claim that 2003 will prove to be so, agencies that find a niche can prosper, even in tough conditions.
Rnk Agency New media New media % chng
t'over 2002 t'over 2001
1 Greenroom Digital 1,615,000 209,000 673
2 12snap UK 1,900,000 300,000 533
3 Dealgroupmedia 3,499,000 724,000 383
4 Recreate Solutions Europe 1,500,000 500,000 200
5 FullSIX 797,867 329,256 142
TOP BUYING AGENCIES
In years to come, 2003 may well be seen as the year online advertising finally came of age. After five years spent trying to justify its existence, it's as if marketers up and down the land have finally rolled over and accepted that, yes, the web is a valuable part of the communications mix, and that online advertising has a part to play in any true cross-media marketing campaign.
There are many companies looking beyond clickthroughs and using online campaigns to build brands. Internet advertising spend rose by 19% in 2002 to £197m, according to the Advertising Association and the World Advertising Research Centre, taking a 1.2% share of the UK's total £16.2bn adspend.
According to Andrew Walmsley, managing partner of i-level, which tops this year's buying table with billings of £20.6m, up 20% year on year, that share now stands at about 2%, and by the end of 2004, he predicts it will be up to 4%. Not bad for a medium many were queueing up to write off less than two years ago.
According to Walmsley, there are some simple reasons for the medium's growth. "Some 8% of total media consumption in hours goes to the web, but only 2% of marketing budgets go there.
The medium has been underexploited by marketers, so the growth is being fuelled by those marketers playing catch-up," he says.
Second, says Walmsley, marketers are seeing that online advertising actually works. "There is a general upsurge in interest, and more interest from FMCG brands in a sensible way," he says.
"Three years ago, we saw growth that was fuelled by an expectation that people might be able to achieve something online. Now we are seeing growth that is fuelled by experience. People have done stuff that works and created a business case for further online investment." Robert Horler, managing director of second-placed Carat, which had billings of £18.3m in 2002, up 12% year on year, is also upbeat. "The business continues to grow at a healthy rate," he says. "Online is securing a larger share of marketing communications budgets and the number of advertisers online is growing all the time.
"Online media is now the only major sector of advertising that is growing year on year, and it's a trend that looks set to continue for the remainder of 2003 and well into next year.
"The outlook is extremely good and compares favourably with the trading conditions we experienced in 1999/2000 at the height of the dotcom boom."
The very mention of the phrase 'dotcom boom' will no doubt have many in the new media business world reaching for the Valium, but this time around, the spend is coming from established businesses, plus those that were on a sound enough footing to survive the madness played out a few years ago.
The consensus is that online is now a serious channel and deserves as much consideration when planning a media campaign as any other.
As the number of broadband connections grows, and viral, rich-media e-mail campaigns blur the boundaries between the web and TV, it would be a brave man to argue that online advertising's growth curve is anywhere close to levelling off.
Rk Agency New media New media %chg % new Staff Digital
t'over 2002 t'over 2001 media spec-
(pounds) (pounds) ialists
1 I-level 20,600,000 17,100,000 20 100 42 42
2 Carat Interactive 18,300,000 16,300,000 12 100 30 28
3 Profero 12,000,000 9,200,000 30 100 46 46
4 Quantum New 9,800,000 5,500,000 78 100 11 10
5 PHDiQ 8,690,000 7,580,000 15 100 11 11
6 Digit-all 5,950,000 4,580,000 30 100 9 9
7 Unique Digital 4,300,000 1,270,000 239 100 16 14
8 Equi=Media 2,013,289 1,342,193 50 85 14 9
9 TBG 1,700,000 n/a n/a 100 15 15
10 Eyeconomy 1,088,842 707,284 54 100 9 9
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Chairman John Bartle. Clients
include BT. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.i-level.com
2 Carat Interactive
Founded 1996. Subsidiary of Aegis Media. MD Robert Horler. Clients
include AOL. E-mail email@example.com, www.carat.com
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Chairman/CEO Daryl Arnold. Clients
include Tesco. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.profero.com
4 Quantum New Media Services
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Chief executive Steve Booth. Clients
include Thomas Cook. E-mail email@example.com,
Founded 1998. Subsidiary of Omnicom Group. Chairman Tess Alps.
Clients include first direct. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Founded 1995. Wholly owned division of All Response Media. Digital
director Colin Gillespie. Clients include One.Tel. E-mail
7 Unique Digital Marketing
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Clients include Barclaycard. E-mail
Founded 1999. Privately owned. MD Andrew Burgess. Clients include
Allianz Cornhill. E-mail email@example.com, www.equimedia.co.uk
Founded 2001. Privately owned. MD Simon Mansell. Clients include
Tiscali. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tbgltd.com
Founded 1996. Publicly quoted as Eyeconomy Holdings. MD Jon Clarke.
Clients include Dulux. E-mail email@example.com,
THE SARBANES-OXLEY EFFECT
All UK new media digital agencies were invited to take part. Many agencies owned by US groups, and those owned by Havas, were unable to take part owing to the US Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.
We have compiled a separate table here of companies affected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act using UK Company House data, where available, researched by accountancy firm Willott Kingston Smith. All companies verified that the financial information supplied to us is correct.
Company Year Turnover
Agency Republic 2002 7,800,631
Agency.com 2001 9,514,048
Arnold Interactive 2001 2,407,587
Draftworldwide 2001 26,303,000
Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper 2001 42,806,949
Good Technology 2001 2,504,916
Incline Media (6) 2001 1,080,733
Initiative Media London 2001 223,285,000
MediaCom UK 2002 518,248,000
OMD UK 2001 54,526,478
Pauffley 2001 2,806,500
Proximity London 2002 44,990,961
TBWA\GGT 2002 27,993,606
Tequila Payne Stracey 2001 26,352,318
Zentropy Partners UK 2002 4,912,000
- AMD Online (1)
- Arc Interactive (1)
- Digerati (2)
- Euro RSCG (3)
- KLP Euro RSCG (1)
- McCann-i (2)
- MOne (5)
- Ogilvy Interactive (1)
- Saatchi & Saatchi (4)
- Tribal DDB London (1)
- Universal McCann Inter. (London) (2)
- Universal McCann Inter. (Manchester) (2)
Source: Table of Information obtained from latest accounts filed at
Companies House, compiled by Willott Kingston Smith
(1) This company has filed abbreviated accounts
(2) No information available at Companies House
(3) Accounts show company has not traded in the year (Agency side of
business transferred to Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, January 1 1999)
(4) Holding company
(5) Company incorporated on 16/6/03, therefore no accounts filed as yet
(6) Figures have been pro-rated for 12 months from a nine-month period
TOP TEN FOR E-MAIL
Just as the web has become a routine part of the communications mix for many brands, so e-mail has become an integral part of many marketers' customer acquisition and retention programmes.
"Clients are taking a lot of digital and web building and maintenance work in house," says Brooke Dalton-Brewer, client services director at Haygarth. "The communications programme is where they are looking to outsource."
Haygarth tops our first ever e-mail league table, with revenues of £1.1m in 2002, a 20% share of the company's total new media income for the period.
"Our roots are in direct marketing, so we are well-placed to deliver e-mail campaigns," says Dalton-Brewer.
E-mail has also become a staple part of Haygarth's work for Columbia TriStar, promoting releases such as Bad Boys II.
In second place is Carlson Digital, where head of digital Jed Murphy says e-mail is used in tandem with traditional DM. "If we have a DM piece going out in the post, we send an e-mail just before or just after it lands and we get a double hit and better response rates,"he says.
The sector is braced for change with the introduction of laws on December 11 as part of the EC Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, which will outlaw the sending of unsolicited e-mails and SMS to consumers who are not already customers of the organisation, or engaged in negotiations with them. Most practitioners are welcoming it.
"It will make us more accountable and help to get rid of some of the sharks out there, which should make customers more receptive to the medium," says Haygarth's Dalton-Brewer.
Rnk Agency New media % E-mail
t'over 2002 email (pounds)
1 Haygarth 5,518,845 20 1,103,769
2 Carlson Digital 5,100,000 20 1,020,000
3 Big Picture Interactive 2,656,495 25 664,124
4 Craik Jones Digital 3,042,344 20 608,469
5= Lawton eMarketing 2,500,000 20 500,000
5= Syzygy UK 5,000,000 10 500,000
7 Profero 4,410,000 10 441,000
8 Incepta Online 8,370,000 5 418,500
9 LIDA 2,649,952 15 397,493
10 Global Beach Group 7,800,000 5 390,000