A raft of US media companies are forecasting a slowdown in ad market growth for the coming year. In different venues, the same story is being told by senior executives respectively addressing concurrent rival media conferences in New York.

NewsCorp’s president-chief operating officer Peter Chernin yesterday revealed that his company has imposed a block on new hirings, citing a downturn in the ad market as a major reason behind the decision. He described advertising as “a tough marketplace right now,” predicting single-digit ad growth for 2001 – a fall from this year’s double-digit rise.

Meanwhile Peter Kann, chairman-ceo at Dow Jones, predicted that ad revenue for his group’s flagship The Wall Street Journal would remain flat. Although the WSJ has experienced double-figure falls in ad volume in the past two months, Dow Jones promised it would meet Q4 predictions.

Elsewhere, other media groups are predicting a fall in the growth of ad revenue to single figures. The New York Times forecast growth of 5%–7% (down from the 10% of 2000), while USA Today, owned by Gannett, anticipated a rise of 7% (down from 11%). Knight Ridder, whose uplift in ad income this year was only 4%, also predicted 2001 growth in the mid-single digits.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline