ZenithOptimedia has reaffirmed its prediction of 3.7 percent growth in U.S. ad spending this year, providing the brightest take among a recent spate of cloudy forecasts—even for certain traditional media. TNS Media Intelligence, by comparison, said last month that ad sales would eke out a gain as small as 1.7 percent in 2007.
Bright though it is, the Zenith view isn’t exactly rosy. “It’s slower growth than we’ve seen in the past,” said Bruce Goerlich, exec VP of strategic resources at Zenith.
Part of the problem is the cyclical absence of the Olympics or big elections this year. However, the business also is being affected by deceleration in the U.S. economy and marketers’ increasing reliance on cheaper digital media as well as nontraditional marketing.
To be precise, ad spending is likely to slip 1.7 percent for network TV and 1 percent for spot TV, Zenith predicted. Newspapers and syndication can expect zero growth in 2007. And radio will expand only 1 percent this year.
The biggest gain in store belongs, unsurprisingly, to the Internet, which Zenith expects to top 2006 by 29 percent. But cable TV and traditional outdoor, each on a bit of a tear, are poised to collect 6 percent more revenue this year. And consumer magazines are in line for a 4.6 percent boost.
“Clearly we’re living in a digital age,” Mr. Goerlich said. “There is a shift to digital going on, but certain media are showing continuing resilience, those that are providing unique strategic value.” Out-of-home, for example, is echoing the old innate power of network TV to push broad awareness quickly, he said.
Looking further out to 2008, with its elections and Olympics, Zenith forecast gains of 19 percent for the Web, 6 percent for cable and outdoor, 5 percent for consumer magazines, 3 percent for spot TV, 2 percent for network TV, 1.6 percent for radio and 1 percent for syndicated TV. Newspapers are expected to turn in a second flat year in 2008.