Middle East and Japanese upheavals slow ad spend growth

Ad spend growth will slow this year due to the turmoil in the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan, according to the latest forecast from media agency network ZenithOptimedia.

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The company has revised its growth prediction for global ad spend for 2011 down from 4.6% to 4.2% and it estimates that the unexpected upheavals will knock some $2.4bn (£ 1.46 bn) off this year’s global ad expenditure.

Rival network Carat’s recent forecast, made before the Middle East and Japanese events, revised growth for 2011 upwards from 4.7% to 5.7%.

ZenithOptimedia points out that Egypt and Japan both dropped commercial ad slots for a long period of time and in the latter media consumption is likely to be very slow for months to come.

However, ZenithOptimedia does not expect the turbulence “to derail the global recovery in the long term” and says it expects some of the missing advertising to reappear later in the year, followed by strong growth in the troubled markets in 2012 due to comparison with the weak first quarter of 2011.

It forecasts 5.8% growth in global ad expenditure in 2012, up from a prediction of 5.2% made in December 2010. This is partly due to a strengthening in Western, Central and Eastern Europe where advertiser confidence is climbing for long-term economic prospects.

ZenithOptimedia foresees the gap between growth in developing and developed markets to continue with Western Europe to grow 3.5% on average each year between 2010 and 2013 and North America to grow 3.1%. This contrasts with 8.2% for Latin America and 10.2 % for Asia Pacific, excluding Japan.

Developing marketers are expected to increase their share of the global ad market from 30.9% to 35.1% by 2013. China is forecast to grow at an average of 13.6% a year to 2013.

The company expects the internet to overtake newspapers as the second largest ad medium by 2013. Newspaper ad expenditure was still 51% larger than internet ad expenditure in 2010 but is shrinking by 1.4% a year. Internet advertising is forecast to grow at an average rate of 14.4% a year between 2010 and 2013.

Television continues to increase its market share and is expected to hold 41.7% of share by 2013.

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