MILAN: Italy posted unexceptional advertising growth of 2.4% in 2006 - down from 2.8% in 2005 and well short of last year's European average of 4%.

The picture looks bleaker yet for 2007, the Nielsen MRI pundits predicting growth below 2%. If inflation is removed from the equation, true growth is likely to be zero - especially with no major international sporting events scheduled this year.

Aggregated national adspend in 2006 hovered around the €8 billion mark ($10,37bn; £5.24bn), with TV accounting for 55% of the total and registering marginal growth of just 0.8%.

Of the national advertising pie, press took a 33% slice, 18% of which went to daily newspapers (up 3.2%) and 15% to periodicals (+5.9%). The latter's growth was boosted by a strong revival in fashion industry spend (+8.3%).

There was no cause for joy in the outdoor and cinema sectors, respectively down by 3.9% and 9.2%.

But, as elsewhere on the planet, the internet enjoyed buoyant growth of 44%, albeit from a very modest base of just 1.3% of the national advertising pie.

Data sourced from M&M Europe; additional content by WARC staff