The UK ad market will return to growth in the third quarter of this year for the first time since 2008, a new forecast from the Advertising Association and Warc predicts.

According to figures from The AA/Warc Expenditure Report – more details about which are available here – total adspend in the country is estimated to have fallen by 12.7% in 2009 on an annual basis, at current prices.

This would amount to the most severe recession faced by the industry since the Advertising Association's quarterly survey was launched in 1982.

Looking forward, it is estimated that advertising revenues will decline by 3.8% in Q1 2010 and 0.8% in Q2, before registering an uptick of 2.8% in Q3, after nine successive negative quarters.

Rufus Olins, chief executive of Warc, said "there is clear evidence that the UK's worst media recession in three decades was bottoming out by autumn 2009, and prospects for a return to growth in adspend later this year are now good. However, as recent UK economic data has shown, the recovery is still fragile."

The newly launched AA/Warc Expenditure Report is based on actual advertising spend, and uses data gathered from a wide variety of media sources.

It combines the previous Quarterly Survey of Advertising Expenditure and the Advertising Forecast, and from this month onwards will be updated once a quarter. More information is available here.