SYDNEY: The online sector is expected to be the driving force behind growth of more than 5% in the A$10 billion ($7.65bn; €5.99bn; £4.01bn) Australian advertising market next year.

Early forecasts from bullish media analyst Steve Allen at Fusion Strategy predict online ads will grow 40% in 2007 to A$1.4bn.

His projections for an A$1bn online total in 2006, considered hugely optimistic at the beginning of the year, are now expected to come close. But he warns it is unlikely the sector can maintain the current 60% growth rate for 2007.

He says: "That would be highest growth rate ever seen for any medium anytime on such a significant base. We have modelled on higher numbers but we're pulling back a little. We think it will be around 40%."

Allen has made two downward revisions to this year's entire adspend growth figures - from a start of 9.2% down to a finish of "around 5%" for 2006.

He is hopeful, however, that next year's growth will be better: "But as is the case this year, it's not going to be even. It's very, very different for each medium and not all sectors will be in growth."

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