Wall Street entrail-rakers are again grabbing the headlines with adspend predictions than can later be conveniently revised in any direction with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

One such practitioner, Merrill Lynch's high profile advertising analyst Lauren Rich Fine, has reduced her estimate for US advertising expenditure in 2004, predicting year-on-year growth of 6.5% as opposed to her earlier guess of 6.6%.

The rest of the world, however will be relieved to learn that Fine sees no reason to alter her earlier conjecture of 5.5% growth.

Adjusting her longer-term vision, Fine sees a fall in stateside growth for 2005, with adspend increasing by 5.2% -- a slower rate than her previous guess of 5.5%. The growth rate worldwide, she estimates, will decline to 4.9% from her last prognostication of 5%.

The haruspex also divines that while broadcast TV will grow this year, newspapers and radio will slow.

  • Meanwhile, back in the real world of solid data, TNS Media Intelligence/CMR reports that spending year-on-year rose 9.1% during the first half of 2004 to $67.6 billion (€56.22bn; £37.72bn). Procter & Gamble led the pack during this period, hiking its year-on-year spend by 4% to $1.3 billion.

    Growth extended across the majority of media, although spending slipped in just one of the seventeen categories analysed -- radio spot advertising, down 0.3%. Internet advertising increased the most, up 25.9%.

  • Another tracker of actual dollars spent, Nielsen Monitor-Plus, reports that total US advertising expenditure rose during H1 by 6.4% compared with the same period in 2003.

    Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff