When it comes to ad spending, screens win

It’s not news to anybody in the selling industry, but a new research report from ZenithOptimeda forecasts that the big winner in the advertising wars — aside from, duh, the Internet — is TV. Although TV’s predicted growth rate (19 percent) is less than half of digital’s (48.5 percent), it’s rising from a much higher base. This graph from Paid Content is striking.

In other words, forget about the global finance crisis and all those unemployed. In this world, screens win.

Digital revenues will match newspaper revenues sometime around 2013; print slides 1 to 2 percent annually. Remember, this is worldwide spending.

Speaking of global, TV’s ad-spending win isn’t necessarily a boon for local news operations. I recently participated in a panel with Bring Me The News‘ Rick Kupchella, and the former KARE11 veteran stated ad revenues among local network affiliates had plunged from $300 million in 1999 to $200 million in 2009. Susan Adams Loyd, another panelist who had just left as WCCO-TV’s general manager, said that sounded about right to her.

So if you want to know why cutting has been the norm, even in that legacy medium, there’s your explanation. (By the way, this trend has slowed in recent months, perhaps even stopping at some stations.)

The other interesting thing about the report is the size of national ad markets. I suspect many of you are familiar with the stat that the U.S. spends more on defense than the next several dozen nations combined. Turns out the ad world isn’t much different.

According to the report, the U.S. market in 2010 ($151 billion) is bigger than the next eight nations combined (Japan, Germany, China, Britain, Brazil, France, Italy and Australia). Even if you take out China, the other countries have about twice the combined population of the U.S., which shows just how commercial-saturated we are.

Forget about those other global economic and educational rankings: we are kicking butt in military and advertising spending. Who says we’re done as a country?

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