Worldwide spend to rise 4.1% this year

Forecasters see modest growth in ad spending both globally and Stateside with U.S. TV dollars flowing to cable from broadcast, print continuing to soften and activity ramping up fast in mobile, online video and social media.

Worldwide spend will rise from 4.1%, or $518 billion, this year to 5.6% growth in 2015, according to ZenithOptimedia Worldwide CEO Steve King. He said.

U.S. spending will rise 4.3% this year, 3.5% next year, 4.4% in 2014 and 4.7% in 2015 — the forecaster’s first projections for 2015.

“While we are well past the worst of the economic downturn, economic growth remains slow,” King cautioned at a panel kicking off the UBS Media conference in Gotham Monday.

Network TV ad spend will rise 1% this year, but dip 2% in 2013 as dollars continue moving to cable. King sees network slipping 1% in both 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, Zenith predicts cable spending will surge 8% in 2012, and 7% a year for the next three years.

Mobile ad spend will jump 58%, social media 37% and online video 29%.

The internet will overtake newspapers as a share of ad spending globally next year for the first time.

U.S television makes up almost one third of the world market, which is a mixed bag.

A handful of European countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) are still on the skids. The U.K. is strong. So are certain Asian markets (China, India, the Philippines and Indonesia) and Brazil.

Western Europe is the wildcard. “We hope the bottom is near, but we were hoping that it was there last year,” said Vincent Letang, exec VP of MagnaGlobal. “I think it will take two years to start growing again, in a best-case scenario, if Europe doesn’t fall off its own fiscal cliff.”

That term actually refers to a draconian package of tax and spending cuts likely to take effect next year in the U.S. unless politicians in Washington, D.C. can reach an agreement before. Negotiations have been rocky. That may be partly behind a slowdown in the third and current fourth quarter, Letang said.

“We think decision-makers are cautions, and that come January there will be a feeling of relief and budgets may be better than some people are considering right now.”

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