LONDON: Whereas WPP Group's ceo Sir Martin Sorrell, in clairvoyant mode, is bullish about advertising prospects for 2008 and bearish for 2009, the crystal ball belonging to Aegis Group's media network Carat is tuned to a different channel.

In a report released Monday, Carat predicts that despite six months of financial upheaval to date – with its expected adverse effect on 2008 adspend – the world economy in general and the ad industry in particular will sail into calmer waters in  2009.

Says Aegis Media ceo Mainardo de Nardis: "Overall, our forecasts for 2009 are more conservative than those for 2008; but we do not foresee a severe slowdown in global spend as a result of the past six months' financial uncertainty.”

Although adspend related to China and the 2008 Beijing Olympics are the thermals on which Sorrell and other media savants hope to glide to a soft landing this year, Carat has lowered its Chinese growth forecast from 23.9% to 19.7% for 2008, followed by a 13.2% rise in 2009. 

In its UK backyard, however, Carat upped its 2008 growth forecast from 5.9% to 6.4%, followed by a further 6.4% increase in 2009. It expects similar growth patterns in Japan, the Nordic region, Russia and Spain. 

Bearing the standard of adspend growth will again be the internet, which Carat projects to rise 23.3% this year, accounting for just under 10% of all adspend. It  will sprout by a further 17.8% in 2009.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff