The advertising market is finally stabilising after several months of falling year-on-year spend, says a research note from Merrill Lynch.

However, warned the thundering herd, TV, print and online media will not see a swift return to the extraordinary levels of adspend in 2000. Director of integrated marketing Bill Melnick forecast that the ad market would not return to full strength until the second half of 2002.

“While we have not yet seen a major uptake, several companies report that the environment does not appear to be getting worse,” said the report. “The second quarter could be the trough; we expect modest sequential growth in the third and fourth quarters.”

Melnick also predicted that the value of contracts written at this year’s upfront will be 8%-10% (between $500 million and $1 billion) down on last year, while online ad rates are set to decline by over 5% per CPM [one thousand page views].

News source: CampaignLive (UK)