ZenithOptimedia continued the wave of optimism across the media industry this week, forecasting a 3.2% rise in global advertising during 2003.
The US is leading a return to growth across global ad markets, according to the media agency, which has revised its previous forecasts as key market sectors increased spend in the first half of the year.
It anticipates a 4.8% increase in worldwide media expenditure in prices during 2004, with all major geographical areas expected to show growth.
However, the UK market still lags behind. Media expenditure is expected to show 0.5% growth during 2003, rising to 3.2% during 2004, with major markets remaining sluggish.
Press is not expected to show any real growth, with finance, retail and motors all down, and travel showing little pick-up.
And with the classified sector remaining weak, held back by a lack of private-sector recruitment, and circulations dipping, the long-term prognosis for the market is poor.
Jonathan Barnard, knowledge management manager at ZenithOptimedia, said that while some money will return to above-the-line markets postrecovery, press markets will continue to suffer.
"Press has been losing market share gradually for years," he said. "This slow process will continue and we expect no reversal of this decline."
There are no signs of an imminent recovery in TV, but it is expected to outperform the market during 2004, boosted by the football European Championships.
Barnard said that, in the long term, television revenues would return to their pre-recession levels of around 30 to 31% of the total market, but spend would shift from ITV to multi-channel.
Outdoor continues to gain share, and ZenithOptimedia has revised its full-year growth forecast for 2003 from six per cent to eight per cent. Key categories such as motors, food and business and industrial, were up between 70 and 90% year on year.
Radio and cinema are slightly outperforming the market, but radio is not expected to return to growth levels of the 1990s.