SYDNEY: Advertising expenditure levels will return to growth in Australia in 2010, when they are set to rise by 5.3% on an annual basis, according to a new forecast.

Roy Morgan, the market research firm, surveyed a representative sample of the 450 biggest national advertisers, as well as senior media executives, in the country on behalf of Starcom Mediavest.

While measured media spending is predicted to decline by 2.4% this year, sentiment appears to be considerably more positive in 2010, when above-the-line totals are likely to expand by 4.6%. 
Below-the-line figures – ranging from point-of-sale and public relations to online viral marketing – are also due to climb by 5% in this period.

More specifically, a majority of national advertisers expect to heighten their above-the-line budgets in 2010, compared with 20% who are ready to cut back.

Two-thirds of this group also anticipate directing more resources to the internet, while around one in four said the same with regard to TV, newspapers and radio.

However, 24% of participants intend to reduce their outlay on free-to-air television, while 18% will pair back their activity in newspapers, and just 20% will divert increased funding to outdoor and magazines.

More positively, three-quarters of media industry professionals believed advertising sales would improve in 2010, up from just 58% agreeing with this statement last year.

John Sintras, ceo of Starcom MediaVest Group, said "it's pleasing to see that advertisers have turned around from a mood of caution and uncertainty so quickly and that 2010 is set to return to strong growth for most sectors of the media."

"That said, the predicted growth would still see mainstream ad budgets below the levels of 2008," he added.

Data sourced from B&T, Marketing Magazine Australia; additional content by Warc staff