Our six specific objectives:
Growing our revenues
5 Fifth, to continue to place greater emphasis on revenue growth. One legitimate criticism of our performance against the best-performing competition is our comparative level of organic revenue growth. 2000 was a bumper year but unsustainable. In 2001, we disappointingly moved back into the middle of the pack. But there was a significant revival in 2002 and 2003, when we were one of only two of the major companies that showed revenue growth. 2004 was punctuated with a number of high-profile wins, resulting in the second strongest organic growth performance in the industry, and 2005 and 2006 saw strong growth again among the leaders in the industry. New business wins in 2007 were unprecedented in the history of WPP, and revenue growth again impressed against the competition, particularly the Big Four.
In 2008, revenue growth trailed a little behind our major competitors, although the fourth quarter held up better than the competition. Estimated net new billings of £2.9 billion in 2008 reflected a consistently high level of wins throughout the year. The Group was ranked first in two of the three major industry new business surveys in 2008 and was, therefore, the leading group overall in new business acquisition, excluding re-appointments, as is the industry convention.
Our practice development activities are also aimed at helping us position our portfolio in the faster-growing functional and geographic areas. So far in 2009, the Group has made acquisitions or increased equity interests in Advertising and Media Investment Management in Italy and South Africa; in Information, Insight & Consultancy in the UK and US; in direct, internet and interactive in France, South Africa, the US and Vietnam.
These acquisitions continue to move us forward to our previously described strategic priorities; expanding the market shares of our businesses in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to one-third; in marketing services to two-thirds; and in Information, Insight & Consultancy, direct and interactive, to one-half.
We intend to expand our strong networks – Ogilvy & Mather, JWT, Y&R, Grey, United Network, Bates 141, Mindshare, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom, TNS (the newly combined TNS Custom Research and Research International), Millward Brown, Kantar Media, Kantar Healthcare, Kantar Retail, Kantar Worldpanel, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, OgilvyOne, Wunderman, OgilvyAction, G2, 24/7 Real Media, CommonHealth, Sudler & Hennessey, Ogilvy Healthworld, ghg, The Brand Union, Landor and Fitch – in high-growth markets or where their market share is insufficient.
In 2008, in addition to the acquisition of TNS, we strengthened our position in Advertising and Media Investment Management in the US, the UK, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ukraine, the Middle East, Kenya, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore and Vietnam; in Information, Insight & Consultancy in the US, the UK, Spain, Brazil and India; in Public Relations & Public Affairs in the UK, China, Korea and India; in direct, internet and interactive in the US, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Russia, China, India, Japan and Malaysia; and in Branding & Identity in the Netherlands.
We will also enhance our leadership position in Information, Insight & Consultancy by further development of our key brands with particular emphasis on North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Continental and Eastern Europe. We will continue our growth of research panels and have established a Kantar-wide operational capability, which will be consolidated with the same function at TNS. We will reinforce our growing position in media research through Kantar Media, which includes our investments in television audience research through the former TNS Media Intelligence and TNS Media Research, and IBOPE and Marktest, which, combined, are among the market leaders outside North America.
In addition, we intend to reinforce our worldwide strength in direct and interactive marketing and research through our traditional channels such as OgilvyOne, Wunderman, G2, RMG Connect, Blanc & Otus and Lightspeed. Although the early 2000-2001 compressions in financial valuations initially offered significant opportunities, we will now also invest directly in the new channels through start-ups, particularly as US and French valuations in search, for example, are still prohibitive, despite the financial crisis. Other opportunities will be sought to enhance our online capabilities.
Lastly, we will continue to develop our specialist expertise in areas such as healthcare, retail and interactive and to identify new high-growth areas.