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ZenithOptimedia downgrades global ad growth forecast

LONDON - ZenithOptimedia has downgraded its global adspend forecast for 2009 from -6.9% to -8.5% and said that China will this year overtake the UK to become the fourth largest ad market.

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It cut its global adspend forecast for 2009 after the first quarter came in below predictions and said the downward slide in advertising continued in the second quarter, but at a lower pace.

ZenithOptimedia said its predictions for the rest of the year held steady as signs continue to emerge that the downturn is approaching its lowest point.

It is predicting mild global recovery in 2010, which it says will be helped by the Winter Olympics, Fifa World Cup and US mid-term elections.

The company said that North America will suffer a third year of decline in 2010 while Western Europe stagnates.

It is predicting a faster return to growth in Asia Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America in 2010, followed by North America and Western Europe in 2011.

Not every market is in decline this year. Of the 79 markets it covers, 25 are still growing.

Many of these are small, young markets, but they also include heavyweights like India and China, which it is forecasting to grow 5.4% this year and overtake the UK to become the world's fourth-largest ad market.

India is growing at 7.7% and will overtake Norway, Mexico and the Netherlands to become the 14th largest.

ZenithOptimedia sees internet advertising growing 10% this year and achieving a 15.1% share of global ad expenditure by 2011.

However, ZenithOptimedia forecasts newspapers will continue to shrink.

The newspaper ad market will contract, it said, every year over its forecast period, falling to 22.7% below its 2007 peak in 2011.

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