Latest forecast: 2013 looks like a bummer
Ad spending will dip 1.4 percent in first quarter and be flat for the year
January 11, 2013
Ad spending will be down in first quarter of this year, which will lead to a slight decline in revenue for the year.
That’s according to a new forecast from Pivotal Research Group senior analyst Brian Wieser, who predicts that ad spending will slide 1.4 percent during first quarter, hurt by a 2.4 percent dip in local revenue. (Note, this forecast excludes political and Olympic spending.)
Though spending will be up very slightly during the second half of the year, Wieser still calls for a 0.2 percent dip in total spending for the year, to $126.4 billion.
“We feel that this year may feature an enhanced bias among advertisers towards making decisions on a just-in-time basis (where possible) in order to maintain flexibility in the event that sudden and long-lasting shocks hit the economy,” notes Wieser in the report.
The predictions come after an unimpressive 2012, when Pivotal says that total local and national advertising was flat to 2011, at $126.6 billion
Fourth quarter was particularly weak, down 1.4 percent, reflecting a worse-than-expected holiday season.
Holiday sales were up only 2.5 percent, according to ShopperTrak, much less than many analysts had anticipated. Retailers were forced to slash prices drastically and offer other incentives to lure in shoppers.
Already taking a hit on sales, and convinced shoppers were unmotivated to hit stores, some advertisers pulled back on their ad spending. Spot TV, which usually sees fourth-quarter gains, was down 4.9 percent, according to Pivotal.
The malaise will creep into 2013 as well. Buyers tell Media Life that advertisers, worried about the impact of the fiscal cliff on consumer confidence, have been holding back in first quarter.
“Consumers aren’t confident,” says one New York City media buyer.
“Advertisers don’t know how [consumers] are going to feel when they get their first paychecks this month and they see the new taxes being taken out. They could spend less, and then advertisers could potentially spend less on TV and other media.”
Wieser predicts national broadcast spending will fall 4.7 percent in first quarter, while syndication will be down 3.9 percent.
Print will continue to struggle. Magazines will fall 8.3 percent, and local newspapers will be down 10.1 percent, the biggest hit for any category.
Local radio will dip 2.4 percent.
There will be a few bright spots. National online video will see the biggest growth, up 11.3 percent.
And Wieser projects that local cable will be up 5.6 percent, and local online will rise 4.2 percent.
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