In its latest forecast, the firm predicted overall media spending will decline 0.4% this year, after growing 2.3% in 2008. That compares with the previous forecast of 5.4% growth last year and 4.9% growth this year.
The latest projection for this year would mark the industry’s lowest growth rate—and only second decline—since the firm started collecting comprehensive data on the industries 30 years ago.
“The downturn in our economy resulting from the financial markets collapse has added pressure to the secular trends already present and has accelerated the down pressure on the traditional segments of the consumer advertising and marketing services sectors,” John Suhler, VSS’ co-founder and general partner, said in a statement.
VSS said the institutional end-user sector—in particular the professional and business information segment—will grow 5.1% this year, the fastest among the sectors the firm tracks. It will also emerge as the largest sector for the first time since VSS began tracking communications spending.