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Interpublic Group media research unit Magna Global has revised down its 2012 forecast, as the global economic volatility of the past few mon…

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Interpublic Group media research unit Magna Global has revised down its 2012 forecast, as the global economic volatility of the past few months have spooked marketers. For now, though, since most major marketers’ ad budgets were locked in months ago, Magna is leaving its previous 2011 forecast of anemic 1.6 percent growth unchanged.

Specifically, Magna pointed to slowdown consumer spending, manufacturing activity, persistently high jobless rates and a stagnant housing market all contribute to Magna’s revised outlook for next year, when it projects ad spending of 2.9 percent. It previously projected U.S. ad spending gains of 4.8 percent.

The new forecast calls for $178.5 billion in ad spending in 2012. That is way below the pre-recession level of 2007′s $206.1 billion in U.S. ad expenditures.

For the most part, the dynamics of growth are still the same. TV, the largest ad medium, and online, are the only real growth drivers. Everything else is either treading water or experiencing slight declines.

TV is set to rise a healthy 7.1 percent, while online, the fastest growing medium, will be up 11.6 percent in 2012. For 2011, Magna expects $31.1 billion in total online advertising, up 19.5 percent vs. 2010.

The underlying weakness in the economy — and its effect on advertising — will be masked to a certain extent by the money pouring in from what Magna called the “quadrennial bonanza” of the presidential election year and the Summer Olympics occurring in the same year. Magna estimates that the London Olympics will generate $3.1 billion in revenue for TV, while the national political campaigns will produce an unprecedented $2.5 billion in political advertising.

Other recent prognostications of the ad market have shown a bit more wariness about the recovery into next year generally speaking, while online has tended to remain steady or even look at little better for 2012:

– Global ad spending will grow 3.6 percent in 2012, says ZenithOptimedia in a downward revision from its previous forecast of 4.1 percent in April. Meanwhile, online is actually looking a little better with 14.6 percent average annual growth between 2010 and 2013, as tougher times heighten the shift from traditional media spending.

WPP’s GroupM expects global ad growth of 4.8 percent in 2011 and 6.8 percent in 2012, while online is set to rise between 15- to 16 percent a year through 2012.

Barclays anticipates a 4 percent rise in ad dollars instead of a 5.2 percent in 2012. For online, spending will reach $29.9 billion, up 14.8 percent in 2011 and then gain 13.6 percent to end 2012 at $33.9 billion.

eMarketer believes online will rise 20.2 percent this year and 17 percent in 2012.

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