In Depth

ZenithOptimedia Lowers U.S. Ad Spend Forecast for 2008

Media buyer ZenithOptimedia has lowered its forecast for U.S. advertising spending for 2008 as the effects of the housing crisis seep into the economy and consumer confidence droops.

Zenith sees newspaper advertising taking a bigger hit while Internet spending grows even faster than previously expected. Overall, ad spending will rise 3.7% in 2008, said ZenithOptimedia, which in December had forecast a growth rate of 4.1%.

The outlook for television was unchanged from ZenithOptimedia’s previous forecast.

The media buyer sees “minimal” advertising expenditure growth of 2.0% in 2008, thanks largely to the Summer Olympics. But TV spending will decline by 2% in 2009 and stay flat at that level in 2010.

As a result of the Writers Strike of America strike, some advertisers are looking to shift ad dollars from broadcast to cable television, ZenithOptimedia said.

“Cable is the only television venue that saw a significant increase in ad revenues in 2007, and we continue to project continued growth of 6.0% for 2008 and 5.0% growth from 2009 through 2010,” ZenithOptimedia said in a report. Cable benefits from having more original scripted shows and from being attractive to political candidates.

ZenithOptimedia expects 2008 syndication expenditures to grow 1% in 2008, then decline in 2009 by 1% and stay flat in 2010.

While growth in North America and Western Europe are declining, growth in other markets is increasing at an 11.1% clip for 2008, up from an earlier forecast of 10.9%. That brings overall worldwide ad growth forecast to 6.5%, down from 6.7%