Wikipedia may describe WPP as an “advertising and public relations company” – but CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has a much broader definition that that. Compelled by a muted ad outlook, the world’s largest ad company will go on investing in content makers and taking the opportunity to produce its own, he tells Beet.TV in this video interview.
“Are we a content company? Yes,” Sorrell says. “We have no choice. The rise of finance and procurement inside client companies, the lack of growth in the world economy at about 5% nominal means that the opportunities for growth are not very broad.
“In the UK, (WPP’s) Group M Entertainment is the largest commissioner of programming in the country, in a period of three or four years. We’re going to expand that model around the world.”
WPP’s stable has been an active investor in the area, acquiring pieces of Spanish football rightsholder Imagina, House Of Cards studio MRC and YouTube multi-channel network Fullscreen amongst others, including September’s investment in long-form digital video producer Indigenous Media.
“We’re keeping our investment in Fullscreen as Peter and AT&T invest more heavily in Fullscreen, a competitor to Machinima and Maker,” Sorrell tells Beet.TV. “We own just under 10% of Vice, which now has a valuation of $2.5bn. Very early days for Vice.”