Online activity in Australia is expected to power the country's adspend growth through 2006.

The annual Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia convention in Sydney was confidently told that advertisers would spend 9.3% more next year, boosted by the internet market.

This bullish prediction came from Steve Allen, managing director of media buying agency Fusion Strategy, despite his admission that he got things wrong at the same venue a year ago.

Then Allen forecast adspend growth of 10.66% for 2005. Industry analysts believe the figure will close between 8% and 10%, less than the dizzy 10.4% heights of 2004.

This week he told the conference that online adspend in 2006 would grow 60% and top A$1 billion ($726m; €622m; £418m). Other strong performers were likely to be magazines, with ad revenues of A$53m, and pay TV.

Not all those present were as optimistic. Jeff Cressall, MD of media buyer Universal McCann said a slowdown in retail spending was having an effect on advertisers.

He added: "Steve's forecasts were a little bit high as they are based on the internet's growing by 60%. I think the internet is going to be good - every client's asking for it - but not that high."

His company predicts 4.5% to 6% adspend growth, more in line with rivals Harold Mitchell, Starcom and Carat, who all came in at between 3% and 5%.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff