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Russia and China fuel global ad growth despite slowdown in west

LONDON - ZenithOptimedia has slightly upgraded its world adspend growth forecast for 2008 to 6.6%, with emerging markets more than compensating for a slowdown in North America and Western Europe, which are still undergoing strong digital ad growth.

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While ZenithOptimedia downgraded growth in North America to 3.5% and Western Europe to 3.7% since its last forecast in March, it expects growth for the rest of the world to be a robust 11.8%, up 0.7% since its last forecast.

Once high energy and commodity prices are stripped out of growth in developed markets, real growth is unlikely to be more than 1% in 2008.

By contrast, growth in developing markets is expected to remain above trend over the next two years as a result of continued dynamism in Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

The silver lining for developed markets over the next two years is higher than expected growth in internet advertising, with the credit crunch accelerating the trend of spend moving online where returns on investments are easy to quantify, customise and target at particular audiences.

Internet's share of adspend will rise from 10.8% in 2008 to 13.6% in 2010, says ZenithOptimedia, with growth in 2008 alone 26.7%.

Television holds the largest share at 37.6% in 2008, falling to 37.1% in 2010, while newspapers are predicted to suffer the largest fall, from a 25.9% share this year to 23.7% in 2010, as online classified advertising continues to bite.

Outdoor is the only other medium whose share of adspend is expected to rise, from 6.2% in 2007 to 6.7% in 2010, as advertisers take advantage of new digital display technology.

Looking ahead, ZenithOptimedia predicts that the US will remain the largest national contributor to global ad growth with spend increasing by $17.72bn, or 9.9%, in the 2007-2010 period.

However, in percentage terms emerging markets will contribute 63% of new growth up to 2010. Russia (92.1%), Brazil (79.6%), China (63.5%) and India (52.2%) are predicted to be the most dynamic markets in terms of growth, with China and Russia combined contributing more adspend, $18.43bn, over the same period than the US.

China's ad market is still only 9% the size of the US, although the developing market as a whole will see its contribution to total world adspend increase from 27% to 33% by 2010.

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