Ad markets sinking in Europe

Report says recovery won't occur until 2011

LONDON -- Europe's top five advertising markets are a headed for a downward slide in 2009, with the U.K. likely to be the hardest hit, according to new research from media analyst Screen Digest, which predicts that "worse is to come."

The report predicts that 2010 promises stabilization at best and that a meaningful recovery across the U.K., Germany, France and Spain will not occur until the 2011, which will still end the year 15% down on 2007 levels.

The report forecasts an 8.4% revenue slide in Britain this year due to gloom across the finance, retail and automotive sectors and says that television advertising -- set to decline 7.7% in the U.K. over the year -- will not show meaningful recovery until London hosts the Olympic Games in 2012.

European markets also are being hit hard by the deepening recession, with full-year ad revenue down 7.1% across the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Going forward, the research promises flat or negative growth in 2010, averaging an increase of just 0.4% across the top five markets, with long-term growth not visible until 2011-12.

"We only expect the TV market to go back to decent long-term growth in 2011-12, coinciding with the settlement of digital migration and the Olympics coming back to Europe," the report said.