ZenithOptimedia bucks other forecasts

A forecast from ZenithOptimedia predicting a 4.8% increase in advertising spend this year has been described as highly optimistic by some other agencies and media owners. Their lower predictions suggest that, despite the boost of this summer's World Cup, ad growth will be minimal.

The latest quarterly forecast from ZenithOptimedia predicts 3.3% growth in TV spend, yet Group M, the UK's biggest media trading outfit, expects TV growth to be only 1%. ITV expects to end the year 3% down overall.

First-quarter TV spend was down 5%, according to Group M, 4% according to ZenithOptimedia.

In newspapers, ZenithOptimedia predicts a 2.5% increase, while one major newspaper group expects a decline of between 4 and 5%.

Across traditional media, the prospects for a bumper 2006 on the back of this summer's World Cup seem unlikely.

Without the World Cup, 2006 would likely have seen the first year-on-year decline since 2001.

According to ZenithOptimedia, online will grow by 29% in 2006, accounting for almost half the total ad growth.

The next biggest rising sector is outdoor, with 4.8% growth predicted.

In radio, it predicts a settling-down of the merger of the Capital and Opus sales houses into GCap and the performances from Chrysalis and Emap, should provide a recovery this year of 2% after a 4.7% decline last year.

A fall in cinema admissions of 3.5% last year led to disappointing revenues for the big screen, but the release of some big films this year should provide a slight lift in admissions.

The Da Vinci Code, Mission Impossible 3, Superman Returns and Casino Royale will lead to a year-on-year advertising increase of 1.2%, the agency claims.

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