Review of operations
he financial world's sub-prime and insurance monoline credit crisis had little or no impact on the Group's financial performance in 2007 Despite the lack of any maxi-quadrennial or mini-quadrennial events, the Group's financial model continued to deliver, with like-for-like revenues growing at around 5% and operating profits up around 10%, and with operating margins growing in-line with the target of 0.5 margin points. Small- and medium-sized acquisitions brought constant currency revenue growth into the 5-10% range and earnings per share growth into the 10-15% range, with share buy-backs further driving earnings per share growth towards 15%.
All geographical and functional segments showed growth. Three geographical growth speeds remain though – fastest growth in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe; a surprisingly steady speed in the US; and better growth in Spain; and a slower speed in Western Europe excluding Spain.
2007 also marked continued client focus on top-line growth, as corporate profitability, margins and liquidity continued to improve significantly. Corporate profitability remains at historically high levels on both sides of the Atlantic. This resulted in continued high levels of new business activity.
Network television price inflation and declining audiences, fragmentation of traditional media and rapid development of new technologies continued to drive experimentation by our clients in new media and non-traditional alternatives. 1998 was really the first year when WPP's marketing services activities represented over 50% of Group revenue. By 2004, these activities represented almost 54% of Group revenue. In 2005, they represented 52%, as Media Investment Management was again the fastest growing part of our business, following major success in winning media planning and buying consolidations, and reflected the first time inclusion of Grey and MediaCom.
In 2006, the underlying relative strength of the inaptly named 'below-the-line' services re-asserted itself, as marketing services grew to 52.5% of revenues. In 2007, they grew further to 53.8%. In addition, in 2007, our broadly-defined internet-related revenue was almost $2.8 billion or 23% of our worldwide reported revenue and our narrowly-defined internet-related revenue was almost $1.5 billion or 12% of our worldwide reported revenue. These are both more than the approximately 10% for on-line media's share of total advertising spend both in the US and worldwide. The new media continue to build their share of client spending.