10 Facts You Should Know About the Agency Business

Who Owns the Biggest Digital Networks? The Answer May Surprise You

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Ad-agency employment is climbing, agency stocks scored all-time highs and U.S. ad spending this year is finally in position to pass its prerecession peak. It's a good time to be in the agency game -- at least if you're connected to digital. Ten facts from Ad Age's Agency Report 2015:

1. U.S. agency revenue rose 5.4% to a record $43.6 billion in 2014, according to Ad Age Datacenter's bottoms-up analysis of more than 1,000 agencies, agency networks and agency companies.

2. Digital captured 39.7% of 2014 U.S. agency revenue, including digital work at all agency types, from ad agencies and media agencies to public relations and digital pure plays.

3. Of the world's five largest digital networks, only one is owned by an old-line agency company: No. 5 Wunderman, owned by WPP. Top four: IBM Interactive Experience, Deloitte Digital, Accenture Interactive and Epsilon.

4. All major agency disciplines grew last year, with U.S. revenue gains from 4.4% for ad agencies to 10.3% for the resurgent field of health-care communications.

5. Media agencies registered robust revenue gains in 2014, propelled by digital. That includes programmatic media buying, where in some cases agency companies account for media billings as revenue.

6. U.S. ad-agency employment in December reached its highest point (192,400) since the dot-com bubble in the early-2000s.

7. U.S. digital-media employment in January for the first time topped 175,000 people.

8. Employment at U.S. PR agencies is at a record high (59,800).

9. The four biggest agency firms -- WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic -- completed more than 100 deals in 2014.

10. Shares in Dentsu, Publicis and WPP in April hit their all-time highs. Omnicom in March reached a record-high adjusted closing price. Interpublic in February traded at its highest price since 2002.

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