SYDNEY: The Australian advertising market should return to growth this year, with the internet set to be the main beneficiary of this trend.

Speaking at a recent conference, Harold Mitchell, the executive chairman of Mitchell Communications Group, the country's biggest media agency, forecast that spending levels would rise by 5% in 2010.

Television should see expenditure improve by 4.5%, with radio and print also experiencing expansions on an annual basis, albeit it at a more modest rate.

Overall, however, the internet will drive growth, with its share of all ad revenues increasing from 14% in 2008 to as much as 20% by the end of 2010 and 25% by 2013.

"TV is still king. Television globally remains the dominant advertising medium. We spend nearly three hours a day with TV… that's been going on 50 years now," Mitchell said.

"It took TV 25 years to get to around 20%-plus of all ad dollars," he added, showing that the trajectory of the web has been "amazing".

The Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia has also reported that domestic ad budgets fell 8% in 2009 to A$12.6 billion ($11.5bn; 8.6bn; £7.7bn), the worst decline since 2001.

Magazines were off by 18.1%, with newspapers down by 15.7%, outdoor by 11.9%, cinema by 8.0% and free-to-air television by 7.6%.

More positively, online enjoyed an uptick of 9.4%, while pay-TV ad sales jumped by 4.9% on an annual basis, the organisation stated.

Data sourced from B&T/The Australian; additional content by Warc staff