U.S. Ad Market Core Growth Forecast At 2.4%, TV Could Dip

The U.S. advertising market will continue to bump along slowly this year, giving way to faster and smoother trends in 2014.

Media agency forecasting unit Magna Global says U.S. core media owner growth will inch up 0.4% by the end of 2013, climbing at a much better 5.9% next year. Taking out the usual two-year bump from political and Olympic advertising, media owners core growth will climb 2.4% this year and 3.8% in 2014. The 2013 estimates are slightly down from the ones Magna made in January.

In 2014, Magna says stronger economic data -- gross domestic product, personal consumption, and industry production gains -- will be key.

Looking at the big category in particular -- television -- Magna says the advertising market was "slow" in the first quarter, with cost-per-thousands (CPM) on the “scatter” market showing almost no premium over upfront pricing set last summer.

Magna notes that pricing in the second quarter has improved, but this comes from a low supply of rating points, which has forced up prices. TV ad revenues as a whole will decline 2.8% in 2013. Taking out the strong political and Olympic advertising of a year ago, TV ad revenues will inch up 1.9%.

Next year, total TV will have a 8.9% gain, largely the result of another political and Olympic year.

Magna says: "While Sochi, Russia [Winter Olympics] is perhaps less convenient than Vancouver, Canada in terms of television scheduling, the London games last year were a complete success, and time zones did not get in the way of maximizing audiences and ad sales." Magna forecast a 5% increase compared to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

There is no doubt about digital media. Magna says it will be the only category to show significant growth this year -- 11.5%. Digital will add on another 12.0% in 2014. On the other side, print will continue to go lower. Magna now says newspapers will sink 6.8% this year and 7.7% in 2014; magazines will drop 6.7% in 2013 and 5.4% in 2014.

Outdoor advertising will have a somewhat slower 2013 -- up 3.5% versus its 4.2% gain in 2012, with most of that push coming from political ad spending.



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