Robert J Coen of Interpublic Group’s Univeral McCann, by common consent the US ad industry’s leading media seer, yesterday dusted off his crystal ball for the remainder of 2001 and predicted that growth in adspend will slip to just 2.5% - at $249.8 billion its lowest since 1991.

Six months back, Coen forecast 5.8% annual growth, a clairvoyant lapse he now blames on the economy, which decelerated faster than he expected. He also admitted that the dotcom carnage took him by surprise [although not WAMN’s editor who forecast the rout back in December 1998, describing in print the Klondyke-style euphoria as a “Gadarene rush”].

But Coen, who has been publicly forecasting ad spend trends for over fifty years, sees a silver lining to the cloud. He expects the business to revive next year, energized by the midterm election and the Winter Olympics. American ad spending will rise 5% in 2002 to $262 billion, says Coen, while overseas it will increase 5.5% to $244 billion.

As ever, the entrail-rakers know better. Opined one Alexia Quadran, an analyst for the aptly-named Bear Stearns in New York: “I think we will see positive growth, but I don't think it will make 2.5%.”

News source: Wall Street Journal