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