Global ad growth forecast raised

ZenithOptimedia lifts projection on U.S., W Europe

NEW YORK -- Media agency ZenithOptimedia on Monday boosted its 2010 forecast for global advertising growth driven by upgrades to North America and Western Europe.

It now predicts 3.5% global ad growth to $447.5 billion, compared to the 2.2% it had projected in April.

Instead of the previously eyed 1.5% ad decline for North America, Zenith now forecasts 1.3% growth for 2010 to $158.5 billion. That includes 1.1% growth in the U.S. and 5.4% in Canada.

Overall, "we now expect all regions to manage at least some growth this year after a stronger-than-expected first half, particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe," Zenith said.

Global ad growth should rise steadily over the next three years, with 4.5% gains next year to $467.8 billion and a 5.3% boost to $492.6 billion in 2012, according to Zenith.

In the U.S., 2011 growth should amount to 2.7%, followed by 3% n 2012.

"North America is the region we have upgraded the most," Zenith said, citing a strong upfront ad market, strong Super Bowl and Winter Olympics ratings and improvements in consumer spending. The firm highlighted 6%-10% rate increases for the 2010/2011 network upfront.

It also once again highlighted the "very rapid growth" in Internet ads, which should boost the Internet's share of ad expenditures from 12.7% in 2009 to 17.1% in 2012 -- narrowing the gap to newspapers to just two percentage points.