BERLIN: Adspend levels in Germany fell by 2.2%, to €20.36 billion (€14.4bn; £12.6bn), last year, and are likely to decline by some 8% in 2009, according to figures from ZAW, which argues the current downturn marks the most challenging period facing the country's ad market for six decades.

While total advertising expenditure in Germany has grown consistently over the last 50 years – including annual double-digit improvements for around half that time – the period from 2000 to the present has seen revenues fall by some €3bn from the peak of €23.38bn recorded in 2000.

ZAW reported that the total investment in the country's advertising industry, including salaries, production and adspend, dropped by 0.5%, to €30.7bn, last year, but the employment rate in the sector remains stable, at around 560,000.

Newspaper ad revenues slipped 4.2% in 2008, to €4.37bn, with TV spending down by 2.9% to €4.04bn over the year as a whole.

Magazine revenues were also off by 7.1%, to €1.69bn, with outdoor down 1.8% to €769m, and radio posting negative growth of 4.3%, to €711m.

By contrast, online display advertising enjoyed an uptick in expenditure of 9.4%, to €754m, but this marked a slowdown from the expansion rate of 39.2% the previous year.

Based on a survey of its members in the advertising, media and research sectors, ZAW also found that 3% of respondents saw the current climate as “threatening", while 36% argued things were "bad".

A further 50% asserted that the situation was worsening, and 11% said it was "satisfactory", but no participants argued it was "good".

With regard to expectations for next year, 10% of contributors expect the country to climb out of recession, while 59% envisage the downturn will continue, and just over 30% predict there will be a relative recovery compared with 2009.

Data sourced from ZAW; additional content by WARC staff