Coen sees brisk ad growth

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Overall U.S. ad spending will rise 7.8% in 1996 to $174.1 billion, fueled by about $1 billion in incremental ad spending attributable to the Atlanta Olympics and the presidential and congressional election campaigns, predicted Bob Coen, McCann-Erickson senior VP-director of forecasting.

Mr. Coen, speaking Monday at the PaineWebber Media Outlook conference in New York, said that would be the fastest rate of growth for the U.S. ad economy in eight years, signaling a second big annual increase in a row and a prolonged pattern of growth in which the ad economy will continue to outpace that of the nation's overall economic growth.

Mr. Coen said he was "very optimistic" that the ad industry will continue to outpace the growth of the nation's economy well past 1996 and well into the next century, largely because of an underlying rebound in the fundamentals of marketers' spending.

He also finalized his estimates for 1995, slightly reducing the ad industry's growth one-tenth of a point to a 7.7% gain to $161.5 billion. Mr. Coen said the revisions were due to slightly slower growth in local ad spending--particularly newspaper retail advertising--which was offset by slightly higher gains than originally anticipated in national media.

Mr. Coen's forecast was slightly more rosy than other leading forecasters. Media industry consultant Jack Myers, who did not present at the PaineWebber conference, forecast 1996 ad spending will rise 5.9%, or 3.5% after inflation for a real ad industry growth rate of 2.4% to $100.1 billion in measured media.

John Perriss, chairman of Zenith Media Worldwide, didn't break out U.S. ad spending, but he said the growth rates for North America would be only about 3.2% in 1995, 3.1% in 1996, 1.4% in 1997 and 1.1.% in 1998.

Mr. Perriss forecast worldwide ad spending gains of 3.8% in 1995 to $226.6 billion, 3.5% in 1996 to $234.6 billion, 2.7% in 1997 to $240.9 billion and 2.1% in 1998 to $246.0 billion. Mr. Coen predicted the world ad economy would expand 7% in 1995 to $351.5 million and 7.3% in 1996 to $377 billion.

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