Opinion differs on outlook for ad spending in ‘03

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New York--Advertising spending in the U.S. is expected to grow 5% in 2003 to $249.3 billion, surpassing the levels seen during the dot-com boom in 2000, according to media buyer Universal McCann.

Bob Coen, Universal McCann's director of forecasting, said better economic conditions and improved consumer confidence would prompt the upturn.

However, John Perriss, CEO of Zenith Optimedia Group, a media services operation owned jointly by Publicis Groupe SA and Cordiant Communications Group plc , released lower estimates on ad spending. Citing concerns about the durability of consumer spending in the wake of volatile markets and a potential war with Iraq, Perriss said he sees U.S. ad spending on selected major media rising 1.3% this year to $143.5 billion, and 1.9% to $ 146.1 billion in 2003.

Coen's and Perriss' comments were made Monday at the annual UBS Warburg Media Week Conference.

--Matthew Schwartz

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