LONDON: Television ad rates in the UK will fall by 16% this year on an annual basis, marking a decline to the lowest level since the 1980s, with newspapers and online display also likely to post decreases, according to Billetts, the media and marketing consultancy.

Overall, the company estimates that the cost per thousand for a television ad in the UK will slide to just £4.16 ($6.64; €4.79) this year, despite the fact that total viewing time is actually increasing.

It argues that slowing levels of advertiser demand, and the fragmentation of audiences to digital channels and the web, are among the main factors contributing to this trend. 

Total TV adspend will contract by 14% year-on-year, to £475m, following on from a decline of some £175m over the whole of 2008.

Billetts also warned that the situation is unlikely to improve in 2010, as advertisers will base their spending plans on the reduced levels of outlay employed during the previous 12 months.

According to the research firm, the price of national press ads in Britain will also slip by 6% during 2009, with the medium's ad revenues shrinking by 18%, or £252m, on the level posted in 2008.

Online display will register a slide in value of between 5% and 10%, and while certain categories will boost online search, internet ad revenues are still set to "stall", growing by just £15m in all.

Nick Manning, coo of Ebiquity, the owner of Billetts, argued that "cost-wise, it's a great time for advertisers with prices so low."

However, he added that "the severity of the downturn will have serious medium to long-term implications for media owners and agencies in the same way as it already has for some of their clients."

Data sourced from the Independent; additional content by WARC staff