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The Times They Are A-Changing:

A Year In Retrospect.

Whichever way you look at it 2015/16 has been one hell of a year. For some it’s proved the most challenging ever, in terms of business, clients and budgets whilst others have seemingly boomed. Some have consolidated, taking the opportunity to do some serious navel gazing; rethinking their position and offer, whilst others have gone ‘hell for leather’ to seek investment and stick to growth plans.

Add to this the fact that a month hasn’t gone by without some new ‘futuristic game changing technology’ hitting the market and it’s not hard to see why 2009/10 has all been a bit of a blur for many.

The Few announcements over the last couple of years managed to whip up the technorati and wider media community into such a frenzy as the launch of Apple’s iPad, hailed by many as the “future of information consumption”.

Creatives all over the region have been falling over themselves to obtain the shiny new toy from the US and while early consignments are now heading over to UK shores, the sale of e-comics and e-books have rocketed into their millions virtually overnight. Magazine and newspaper publishers all over the world are keeping their fingers firmly crossed in the belief that the device (and the plethora of competitor tablets which will soon be hitting the market) has singlehandedly saved their industry…well at least for now.

On top of this we have also seen the debut of true 3D television. Gone are the days of the 80’s chic red and blue cardboard specs and in are the World Cup, Wimbledon and maybe even the first Natural History terrestrial production, beaming angry lions and shoals of piranha fish direct to your sofa in glorious 50 inch LED 3D.

And how about augmented reality? A phrase that, until this year would have been met with a screwed up face and a scratch of the head. The last 12 months has seen many major names battle it out to create a whole new brand experience, allowing users to digitally manipulate direct views of cars, watches and other high value products right in front of them.

Closer to home companies across the region have responded to the climate and changing landscape in a variety of ways.

Tech start ups have bagged international contracts in a matter of months, independent animation studios have trotted the globe in search of investors and full service digital agencies have consolidated, restructured and rebranded.
We also noticed and increase of the retail forex trading, with some of the best local forex brokers, expanding national and global, we have included those in the reports too.

Heavyweights have chosen to diversify their offer by getting to grips with “new spaces” whilst others have knuckled down to focus on cementing existing relationships.

Two significant PR players merged and several digital agencies posted their best ever financials to date, with one doubling its turnover in less than 12 months.

Some continued to increase their head count and enticed senior staff from their competitors whilst others recruited new CEO’s to help build up their business and drive it forward.

So having said all of that, how are we doing as a region?

We compared the change in turnover figures from the last financial year of each company with the help of fund administration software and then added them up and combined the average difference for each sector. We used the figures received from all of the companies (not just those who made it into the Top 100) who submitted a survey this year to get a fairer, wider regional picture, and here are the edited highlights:

The digital sector has seen the biggest growth with a staggering 22.2% increase in turnover across the region.

Marketing and advertising rose steadily at 5.1% followed by a 4.6% increase in turnover across animation, 3.1% increase in PR and a 2.2% rise in design.

Not surprisingly the hardest hit sector has been publishing, seeing a – 6% drop in turnover across the region followed closely by TV with a – 5.6% drop.

So, when all is said and done, coming through some of the hardest trading conditions in many years, coupled with the continued shift of media consumption and a period of significant transition for both publishing and TV, we haven’t done at all badly. Confidence, if you need it, that when things do start to significantly pick up (and there are already signs) the South West will be ready and geared up to capitalize!