DENVER: Of the eighty-four advertising agency chief executives participating in the latest Worldwide Partners Inc Agency CEO Survey, seventy percent reported that clients plan to cut their 2009 budgets.

Over 83% of that global group also said those cuts were a minimum of 15%; while 48% of the respondents said it will be least eighteen months before business conditions in their respective markets will improve.

Among the survey's other findings …

  • The vibes that picked up from clients about their outlook for 2009 is gloomy. Of the global respondents asked if their clients were more or less optimistic about 2009, 95% of agency ceos said their clients were less optimistic. 
  • North American ceos said that 94% of their clients were less optimistic about the 2009 business climate, and for non-North American CEOs that figure was an overwhelming 96%. 
  • Digital was one of the few bright spots in the survey, with half of the global ceos citing it as a 2009 growth area. Among North American CEOs, 62% said that they think digital will grow this year, while 39% of non-North American CEOs cited it as a growth area. 
  • Traditional print and broadcast were cited as growth areas by a minute section of the sample in any region.
Of the 83 CEOs responding to the survey, carried out during the week of January 12 this year, 34 were in North America and 49 were in markets in Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.

The agencies range in size from $5 million to $500 million in capitalized billings and are all partner agencies in WPI, which is the world's largest privately held owner-operated advertising and marketing services agency network with in excess of $3.9 billion in advertising budgets under management globally.

Comments WPI president/ceo Al Moffatt: "Last July's survey hinted that things could get worse before they get better. This latest report indicates we were right given our streetwise framework and intelligence.

"If our interpretation of what clients will do in '09 is right, budget cuts will at least be double what the mainstream pundits in our industry are prognosticating and the economic malaise will last longer than they expect.  The ‘money bubble' has burst and there's been nothing to soften the shock."

The complete survey and regional breakdowns can be downloaded by clicking here.

Data sourced from Worldwide Partners; additional content by WARC staff