Universal McCann's Robert Coen Puts 2003 Estimate at 4.6%

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NEW YORK ( -- A leading forecaster of advertising spending today lowered his prediction for 2003, citing sluggishness in spending by local marketers.

Robert J. Coen, senior vice president and director of forecasting for Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, said ad spending will increase 4.6% over last year's $236 billion. In December, Mr. Coen had predicted an increase of 5% for 2003.

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to be held down due to the weakness in classified help-wanted advertising, and the pace of retail advertising growth is slower than we had expected at the end of last year," Mr. Coen said in his report released today.

Growth in national advertising by media in the first three months of this year varied; compared to the year-ago quarter, the top four TV networks were down 6.5%, although cable TV was up 20.5%. Magazines were up 12.3% and syndicated TV was up 14.5%. Spot TV was down 2.4%.

Dot-com revival?
A revival of spending by dot-com marketers is beginning to appear: In the first quarter of 2003, spending was down 11% from the year-ago period, but in two of the three months of the quarter, spending increased.

"From here on out in 2003, we can probably expect these new and now established dot-com marketers to spend at a rising rate for advertising messages in the traditional media," Mr. Coen said.

For the year, U.S. advertising revenues of most media will "match or exceed boom year 2000 levels," Mr. Coen said. "We expect even better U.S. economic growth next year and look for U.S. advertising to well outpace nominal gross domestic product growth in 2004."

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