Magna/Zenith/Group M Release 2010 Ad Forecast

Agencies differ on prospects for next year

Two major advertising agencies released very different predictions for the 2010 ad market. Interpublic's Magna offered the rosiest forecast, suggesting global advertising will rise 6% next year, while Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia suggests the growth will be a much less aggressive 0.9%. Group M, part of WPP, is the most pessimistic offering a projection of 0.8% growth for the same period. It had previously forecast 1.4% fall.

Significantly, Zenith's new number is its first upgrade in 18 months, four tenths higher than its previous prediction. Normal growth, pegged as 5%, will return in 2012, it suggests.

The bad news is that marketers will continue to shrink ad spend in North America in 2010 by 2.4% and in Western Europe by 0.5%. Group M believes ad spending in the US will fall 8% this year followed by a 4.3% drop in 2010. Meanwhile Magna suggests the North American market will see a 1% increase in advertising revenue in 2010, up from a 16% decline in 2009.

Zenith pointed out some anomalies that had exacerbated the ad downturn in some markets. In France and Spain for instance the public channels are phasing out advertising altogether. In China the authorities are limiting the number of ad spots permitted to run on TV.

Separately, Zenith identified many markets that continued to grow advertising revenue in 2009. The regions attracting the biggest uptick were Asia Pacific, (excluding Japan,) which grew 8.4% and Latin America, growing 8.1%. Central and Eastern Europe grew 2.3%, good news for channel providers operating in those markets.

Speaking at an investor conference on Monday December 7, News Corp. chief operating officer, Chase Carey said India could be News Corp's biggest market in the next few years.