NEW YORK: The crystal ball of Robert J Coen, director of forecasting at Interpublic Group's Magna unit, has become  somewhat clouded it seems.

On Wednesday, IPG's media clairvoyant revised his December US adspend prognostications for 2008,  down from 3.7% growth to just 2% – almost halving his previous prediction by 46 percentage points.

The extent of Coen's revision is all the more surprising in that the shape of things to come was already alarmingly clear in December 2007.

In November WARC News reported Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto's belief that many media and entertainment companies would experience "a larger-than-expected slowdown in 2008 than is reflected in current financial estimates".  

And in the same month we noted a Conference Board report that the nation's consumers had registered "a fall in economic confidence for the third month running, suggesting a … 'less than stellar ending to this year'."  
Coen, in common with his seer peer Lee Westerfield, is now more cautious. The former believes that "the outlook for traditional advertising is currently not very good," noting that "the biggest national marketers have pulled in their horns".

While the latter opines that US advertising is experiencing a "deeper and wider slump" than previously expected".

Neither see a silver lining to the cloud before 2010.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff