For those hoping for an advertising rebound in 2010, Interpublic's Magna has some disheartening news. The trend tracking company expects ad spend to sink this quarter and rebound thereafter. But that means growth will remain stagnant for 2010. And after two miserable years for the ad market, that is not good news.

But on the bright side, this is a positive revision of the company's previous numbers.

Just a short while ago, Magna predicted that 2010 would see ad revenue decline of 1.3%. Compared to that, a .1% decline is definitely better. And means that the ad revenue slide of the last two years will finally come to a halt.

Magna predicts that ad revenue should reach $161 billion in 2010. Brian Wieser, the company's global director of forecasting, predicts that March will bring the end of the ad spending decline that has persisted throughout this recession.

Moreover, political advertising is expected to generate 15% more in ad revenue for local TV suppliers than it did in 2008 or 2006. That's surprising considering the millions poured into the 2008 presidential election, but Weiser says that more diverse and smaller races this year will mean more money coming into the system. That means this year will bring in $2.7 billion compared to the $2.4 billion in revenue that the last two election years earned. 

But while Magna is bullish on political spending, the company does not expect Olympic spending to bring in the revenues that were seen during the 2008 summer Olympics or even the most recent Winter Olympic events. And according to Magna, the 2010 Winter Games will generate only $488 million in incremental revenue this year, compared to the $650 million in incremental revenue earned during the 2006 Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, NBC predicted it will lose money on the Olympics this year for the first time in its broadcast history.

Ad revenue in the U.S. has not increased since 2007, when it reached $204 billion. And while it may be reassuring to know that things aren't going to get much worse, for companies hoping to see a rebound soon, predictions like this cannot be welcome news.

Meghan Keane

Published 20 January, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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