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Citing some first-quarter declines in categories such as local classifieds (-24.9% from a year earlier) and local retail (-8.6%), Magna‘s Robert J. Coen lowered his 2008 US ad spending forecast to 2.0% growth rather than the 3.7% he’d forecast in December -?and the 5.0% in June 2007, writes the New York Times.

Coen’s forecast ad revenue for 2008 is now $285.1 billion, compared with his final estimate for 2007 of $279.6 billion. Some $193.1 billion of the 2008 forecast ad spend is for national advertising, up 4.2%; the remaining $92.0 billion is from local, which is expected to be down 2.4%:


His final estimate for ad spending growth for 2007 is -0.7%, which is revised downward from 0.7% – his previous estimate (in December).

The negative growth in 2007 is the first since 2001 – and out of the past 70 years just the sixth year during which ad spend has declined, according to Coen (the others: 1938, 1942, 1961, 1991, 2001).

For 2009 Coen forecasts 3.1% growth from 2008, but only because this year will have been a sluggish one.

Though, overall, traditional media ad revenue growth has been slow in the beginning of 2008, national media are doing better than local media, with TV networks, both broadcast and cable, better off than newspapers and radio:


Unlike the US ad spend forecast, the projections for overseas ad spend were revised upward, in part because of exchange rates: Coen now forecasts 2008 ad spend abroad to total $382.8 billion, up 6.3% (rather than the 5.3% forecast in Dec.) from his revised estimate of $360.1 billion for 2007.

In 2009, Coen forecasts, overseas ad spend will grow at a slower 4.6%, totaling $414 billion.

(More on the forecasts is available from Magna.)

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