Pundits Prophesy UK Ad Industry's Fiscal Fate in 08

03 January 2008

LONDON: In the post-Yuletide dog days, when ad and marketing news of any consequence is rarer than a sober gossip-columnist, despairing editors are reduced to rehashing previously published predictions.

The Times of London - and by a process of osmosis WARC News' own hungover helmsman - is regrettably no exception.

So here are a few reheated predictions, no less relevant in their retelling - and possibly, like pheasant, more piquant for being allowed to hang for a while.

According to WPP Group's media management unit GroupM, internet search advertising is expected to contribute up to three quarters of all UK advertising revenue growth this year. Traditional media growth, on the other hand, is doomed to stagnation.

Advertising overall will grow by 6% in 2008, but if the contribution by Google and its search engine rivals is factored out of the equation, the rest of the media mix will increase by a meagre 1.5%.

Moreover, the hot breath of online advertising will be scorching the neck of TV, GroupM believes, with the latter notching revenues of £3.57 billion ($7.08bn; €4,85bn), up by just 0.9%. Web adspend, however, is predicted to hit £3.4bn, up from £2.6bn in 2007.

ZenithOptimedia, the rival media network owned by Publicis Groupe, is less pessimistic, foretelling that British TV spend will grow by 2.2%.

ZO also believes that newspapers will benefit from an increase in colour advertising capacity - a supposition to which GroupM futures director Adam Smith does not subscribe.

"There is a notion that just by turning black and white into colour you turn lead into gold. Where do you go when everything is in colour? Colour may be a mild stimulant, but nothing more," he argues.

But there is one advertising channel about whose growth the media-buying rivals concur: Radio.

The duo divine growth of 2% this year, partly due to the medium's symbiosis with the web, and partly to a significant increase in sponsorship and sales promotion.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff