Eurozone crisis drags down European ad spending - report

LONDON Sun Dec 2, 2012 7:01pm EST

LONDON Dec 3 (Reuters) - The eurozone crisis has left Western Europe the only world region to see a fall in advertising spending this year, market research group ZenithOptimedia said.

The forecasting group said advertising expenditure in Western Europe fell 2.2 percent to $106.8 billion this year compared with an average increase of 3.3 percent worldwide.

North American ad spending rose 4.1 percent to $171.9 billion and Asia's expenditure was up 6.1 percent to $140.1 billion this year.

"Developing markets, social media and online video are all growing rapidly, supporting continued expansion in global ad expenditure despite stagnation in the eurozone," said Steve King, global chief executive of ZenithOptimedia Group.

The company, part of advertising agency Publicis, also said European ad spending would be flat next year before growing by about 2 percent in 2014 and 2015.

This leaves Europe lagging faster-growing regions such North America, which will grow by 3.5 percent next year, as well as Asia (5.5 percent) and Latin America (10 percent).

"The eurozone crisis is dragging down economic growth at the moment," ZenithOptimedia said on Monday.

"Because the eurozone is in recession, its imports from other countries are slowing down or shrinking, and the risk of eurozone collapse adds to global uncertainty, leading companies to hoard cash instead of investing in growth," the firm said in an emailed statement.

Ad spending generally tracks economic growth, so recessions tend to hit the shares of advertising agencies, including market leaders WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic Group and Publicis.

ZenithOptimedia said global ad expenditure would rise 4.1 percent next year to reach $518 billion, driven largely by faster growth in the developing markets.

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