MADRID: Spain's biggest media company has reported a major decline in advertising sales for the Iberian peninsula, in a signal that marketers are continuing to slash budgets in the tough economic climate.

Figures from Promotora de Informaciones SA (Prisa), reported by Bloomberg, suggest that overall sales reached €221m ($286m) for Spain and Portugal over the first half of 2012, down 16% on the year before.

Prisa publishes the El País newspaper and owns several TV and radio stations, among other media properties.

"The outlook is really bleak," Eduardo Madinaveitia, a director for media research at Zenith Media, told Bloomberg.

Prisa's latest data highlight the troubles besetting the advertising market in the region as economies struggle with recession. The news came as the Spanish government announced a fifth austerity package.

"As Spain continues to suffer from spending cuts and tax increases, consumption will suffer and advertisers won't be willing to boost investments," Madinaveitia added.

In June ZenithOptimedia was forecasting that adpsend in Spain would fall 12% in 2012, as local advertisers struggled to maintain their cash reserves, and international advertisers reconsidered the long-term potential of their investments.

But Madinaveitia indicated that the advertising market in Spain has dropped between 15% and 20% so far in 2012, with further declines expected for the fourth quarter.

Announcing the latest sales figures, Prisa chairman Juan Luis Cebrian said: "Online ad revenues are climbing a lot, more than 20%, but that's not enough to compensate for the overall decline."

Data sourced from Bloomberg/Zenith Media; additional content by Warc staff