U.S. Ad Market Forecast To Grow 2%-3%

The U.S. advertising market is expected to maintain its modest low single-digit percentage growth rate over the near term -- with the TV ad market gaining less.

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, estimates the growth rate of 2.5% will continue for the U.S. advertising market -- excluding Olympic and political advertising spending. The longer-term forecast is that the U.S. ad market will grow 3.1% on average through 2019.

National TV spending was up 2% in the first quarter of 2015, lower than the 3.5% overall U.S. ad growth rate. Still, Wieser says that given the negative volume of TV upfront market of the summer 2014 -- and the negative fourth-quarter 2014 growth rate -- it is “still a positive number.”

But going forward, Wieser has lowered his national TV estimates, up just 1.1% from a previous 1.4% number. Going forward, national TV’s five-year average growth rate will now be 2.6%, revised down from a 3.1%. He says: “We think weakness in TV is primarily (though not exclusively) fueled by ongoing spending reductions to other media.”



What about specific concerns that TV is losing dollars to digital media?

“We continue to believe that commonly held views around shifting spending from traditional TV to digital media owners are generally overblown,” he says. He does add that “there is growth in spending going to digital from most large brands.”

Digital media estimates have been slightly raised -- with a five-year growth rate averaging 11.7% vs. 10.6% previously. Wieser says digital advertising grew in the first quarter 14% year-over-year, slower than the 17% growth rate in the fourth quarter. He points to slowing spending from the largest Internet-endemic advertisers.

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