Global advertising expenditure in 2004 is likely to soar by 6.9% year-on-year to around $370 billion ($276.32bn; £190.97bn), predicts international media network ZenithOptimedia.

Retuning its crystal ball to long-range mode, the agency says that ad expenditures in the Asia Pacific region will overtake those of Europe within the next ten years. The latter currently spends around $94.4bn annually (26% of total world advertising), while Asia-Pacific generates $75.6bn (20%).

The main driver of the oriental acceleration will be that upsurgent state-controlled bastion of capitalism, the People's Republic of China - currently on a par with Italy with around $9bn annual adspend - which by 2006 will have grown to $12bn.

  • In another part of the gypsy's tent, Merrill Lynch's high profile haruspice, Lauren Rich Fine, on Friday delivered her seasonal prognostication for the US advertising industry.

    She adjusted her earlier guess of 6.3% ad growth (excluding direct mail) up to 6.8%, at the same time lowering her 2005 estimate from 5.1% to 4.6% - margins of variance that those working in the real world can only envy.

    Displaying her usual prescience, Fine opines: "Traditional media investors are going to be hard pressed to get excited about revenue momentum in the various mediums in 2005."

    Advertisers, she believes, could be seeking cheaper ad platforms that provide better ROI - for example the internet, local cable television and direct marketing.

    Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff