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Online Advertising Spending to Outpace Print and Magazine by 2015: Forecast

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Global advertising spending has made a notable comeback since contracting 9.6% in 2009.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Global advertising firm ZenithOptimedia helped kick off the 40th UBS Annual Media and Communications Conference in New York City today by releasing its forecast for global ad growth through 2015.

Global ad expenditures are projected to continue their upward growth trend, according to the company's research. The expansion in spending will increase year over year, from 2.2% in 2011 to 3.3% in 2012, 4.1% in 2013, and 5.6% in 2015.

These figures represent a notable turnaround from a 9.6% ad spending decline in 2009, the deepest slowdown on record. In total, global ad spending is expected to reach $574 billion in 2015.

Like much of the global growth seen since the worldwide recession began, the rise in ad spending will be led by developing markets. Markets like Eastern Europe, Central Asia, "Catch-up Asia" (essentially China and other countries not including Japan, or Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore, which are known Advanced Asia), and Latin America are expected to grow at an average 9%-plus a year. By contrast, the economies of North America and Advanced Asia are likely to grow by around 4-5% a year, and economies of Northern and Central Europe will remain stagnant before seeing 2% growth in 2014 and 2015.

The general consensus among economic forecasters is that despite the US fiscal cliff, Middle East conflicts, and a feared eurozone collapse, the global economy will start to recover over the next three years. And with it, ad spending will begin its modest recovery, too. ZenithOptimedia believes ad spending growth will remain just behind expected global GDP growth, which the IMF sees growing at 6.9% by 2015.

Despite the developing world's increasing role in driving ad spending, the United States will remain the leading contributor to growth. It will be responsible for 28% of the $76 billion that will be added to global advertising spending from 2012 to 2015. This will be followed by spending in China and Brazil, which are expected to be the second and third largest drivers of ad spending growth over the next three years.

The US will also remain the largest ad market, valued at $182 billion by 2015, according to ZenithOptimedia predictions. Russia and Brazil will both grow to become larger ad markets, while the UK, France, and Canada will shrink.

Internet Advertising Leads the Way

Online advertising expenditures will continue to lead the market, expected to be responsible for 59% of growth in total spending. It's expected to grow 15.2% in 2012, and 14-15% annually from 2013 through 2015. ZenithOptimedia predicts that social media and mobile advertising will play a significant role in driving online ad spending; the company noted that online firms large and small -- in particular Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) -- are pushing for new, more effective platforms.

ZenithOptimedia's research on ad revenue per user shows that although rates are still low, they have improved -- from $9 per user in 1995 to $49 per user in 2011. The three biggest mobile ad networks as of 2011 were Google (AdMob: 24.8%), Apple (iAd:18% share), and Millennial Media (17.7% share). Facebook is expected to enter this market in 2013.

Online advertising spending has been quickly eroding traditional print ad spending's dominance in the market. From 2002 to 2012, global Internet ad spending grew 15%, while print advertising shrunk 12%, and magazine spending decreased by 5%.

In related news, the New York Times (NYSE:NYT) announced today that it would be downsizing its newsroom staff -- again. Newsweek Magazine (NASDAQ:IACI), formerly one of the most influential news magazines in the US, announced earlier this fall that it would be ceasing publication of its print edition.

ZenithOptimedia predicts online ad spending will jump from an 18% marketshare in 2012, to 23.4% in 2015. Meanwhile, traditional print advertising will shrink by 1% annually. At this rate, by 2013 Internet advertising will become larger than newspaper advertising, and by 2015 it will surpass newspaper and magazine advertising combined.

There was also good news for investors in major cable companies. TV advertising will remain relatively stable as the marketplace shifts over the next few years. It's expected to drive 39% of global advertising spending growth, and will account for 40.2% of advertising spending -- the largest proportion of total ad spending -- by 2015.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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