After the attack - No upturn seen soon: forecasters

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The ad industry's leading prognosticators agree the devastating terrorist attacks will hit the already depressed advertising market, with a turnaround at least a year away.

"Until corporate profitability shows signs of returning, we're not going to see an upturn in ad spending," said John Perriss, chairman-CEO of Zenith Media, a participant in an Advertising Age Economic Forecast Roundtable convened in New York on Sept. 18, one week after the attacks.

Forecasters agreed fallout from the disaster will hit third-quarter results hard and squeeze the fourth quarter as well. If there is any upside to the economic gloom and doom, they said the horrific shock to the system could speed a return to rational business for an ad market still falling from 2000 euphoria.

Roundtable participants were Robert J. Coen, senior VP at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann; Christopher Dixon, managing director at UBS Warburg; David Peeler, president-CEO of Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR; and, calling in from London, Mr. Perriss. Financial Editor Mercedes M. Cardona, who led the discussion, was joined by International Editor Laurel Wentz.

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