Dublin-based Core Media is expanding and plans to add up to 20 new jobs in the area of online media, search and social media. The advertising, media-buying and planning group is the largest in the country employing over 200 and it has annual billings of €180m.

Justin Cullen, from Core Digital, says the company's expansion is aligned with the shift in consumer behaviour. Mr Cullen says his company is seeing the consumer moving to a range of different media channels - a trend that brands and businesses must follow to achieve their business objectives. As a consequence of that, Mr Cullen says that Core Media - as an advisor and a provider of solutions to brands and businesses - needs to ensure that it has the right level of skills set in its own business to deliver to customers. 

During the recession as budgets became tighter and companies lived in a much more "results driven environment", Mr Cullen says that brands and businesses were making decisions to invest money where they could see a demonstrable return. He said that resulted in a huge increase in such areas as search marketing and online marketing. These areas have data sets which allows a company see a specific return on their investment, he explains. As a consequence, Mr Cullen says his company is now seeing a major growth in these channels as people begin to understand the role they play within their business.

Mr Cullen says that during the recession - like all other economic indicators - advertising investment declined with non-digital media bearing the brunt of that fall. But digital media continued to grow every year during the downturn. A recovery is now being seen in the overall advertising market, in line with the economic upturn, and Core Media is expecting that the total advertising media sector will grow by 5% this year. But he noted that digital is still growing ahead of the macro-trend and is expected to increase by between 17% and 20%. 

***
MORNING BRIEFS - Waste management company Panda is entering the Irish electricity market from today. Panda Power is investing €40m over the first phase of its roll-out and has been approved by the Commission for Energy Regulation to sell electricity to consumers. The company hopes to convince its 150,000 Panda waste customers to switch to its electricity offering which, it says, will only supply power generated from renewable energy sources. Panda says it will offer an initial discount rate of 15.47 cent per unit, currently the lowest rate on the market. Its entry has already met with a response from rival Energia which has cut its unit electricity and gas rates by 2% and 2.5% respectively.

*** Ikea has committed to spending €1 billion on renewable energy projects over the next five years. The Swedish flat pack furniture retailer will spend €500m on wind power and €100m on solar power for its stores over the next five years. Ikea says its charitable arm, the Ikea Foundation, will also spend €400m on projects to help people in the areas of the world which are worst affected by global warming.

*** The services sector here expanded at the fastest pace in three months during May, according to the latest Investec purchasing managers index. A fall in the euro against the dollar and sterling helped boost new orders in sub-sectors such as hotels and leisure. The broader services sector covered by the PMI survey, which includes a range of industries from banking to tourism but does not include retail, has shown growth now every month since July 2012.