Ad growth to slow in ’07

Annual forecast predicts 5.2% rise in U.S. spend

Two advertising gurus said Monday that they expect slower growth in U.S. advertising next year after gains this year from the Olympics and U.S. midterm elections.

And Universal McCann’s Robert Coen sees a “quite modest” 4.8% increase in 2007 across all media to $298.8 billion. He predicts 5.2% growth this year as it draws to a close — down from his earlier estimate of 5.8%.

Net advertising, the swiftest growing category, is seen surging 20% this year and another 15% in 2007, according Coen’s annual forecast unveiled at the UBS media conference in Gotham.

Brit firm ZenithOptimedia expects U.S. major media advertising growth of 4.1% next year vs. 5.2% this year.

ZenithOptimedia and Universal McCann use slightly different data.

ZenithOptimedia sees global Internet ad spending up 28.2% in 2007, dwarfing the average 3.9% growth in other media. Firm predicted Internet spending will overtake radio in 2009.

Outdoor and cinema advertising are the other two fastest-growing categories.

ZenithOptimedia predicts that total global ad spending will grow 5.3% to $446.3 billion in 2007, a slower pace than this year’s 5.9% growth.

Steve King, CEO of ZenithOptimedia worldwide, noted that in the world’s three biggest advertising markets, the U.S., Japan and the U.K. — consumers spend 21.9% of their media time online, but advertisers devote only 6.8% of their budgets to the Internet.

Discussing his forecast, he said this is “probably one of the last years we’ll be able to look at it quite clearly … as the boundaries are changing — blurring the lines between TV, video, the Internet.”

According to McCann’s study, the four main U.S. TV networks will see advertising grow 5% this year and another 3% in 2007. Firm sees spot TV up a hefty 11% this year, but flat next. Cable is seen rising 4.5% in 2006 and 6.5% in 2007.

Coen sees syndication ad spend up 5% this year and 6% next.

National radio will see a 3% bump this year and 4% increase next year. He sees magazines up 4.5% in ’06 and 5% in ’07. Newspapers will be down 3% this year and up 1% next year.

In local advertising, Coen’s study sees newspapers up 1.5% in ’06 and 2% in ’07; local TV up, respectively, 5% and 4%; and local radio down 1% this year and up 1% next year.