Will 2014 see strong growth in media?

The latest Group M adspend predictions suggest there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel. By Mark Banham.

If media spend is a barometer of what the wider economy can expect of its future prosperity, then there are strong indications that the fiscal tempest that the UK has been experiencing for half a decade may be giving over to a chink in the clouds.

The latest This Year, Next Year report from Group M, released last week, brought some rays of sunshine to an industry that has been in the darkness for too long.

It contained the confident prediction that UK advertising spend in 2013 would increase by 7 per cent to £13.9 billion – above the peak of £13.1 billion achieved in 2007, before the start of the economic downturn.

Broken down into sectors, Group M expects TV advertising to grow by 6.8 per cent year on year this year and outdoor to remain stable (with an increase of 0.1 per cent).

Online spend as a whole is forecast to leap by 17.2 per cent, with paid search up 20 per cent, online display 17.8 per cent, online classified 6.6 per cent and "other" 11.1 per cent.

Despite the heralding of a new advertising dawn, there were inevitable declines in some sectors.

Newspaper spend is predicted to fall 6.9 per cent this year, magazines by 8.2 per cent and cinema by 4.9 per cent. But these were spots of drizzle in what looks to be an optimistic forecast.

The report also predicted that adspend would increase by 6 per cent year on year in 2014, reaching another high of £14.8 billion, suggesting that the UK was "comfortably leading" the more mature advertising economies globally.

Helping to drive adspend next year will be the Fifa World Cup, the world’s biggest single sporting event, which takes place in Brazil – one of the most populous countries in the world and, arguably, the home of modern-day football.

Outdoor will see a 2 per cent increase in 2014 and cinema will grow 2.6 per cent. Meanwhile, both TV and online growth is expected to moderate slightly, to 5.1 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively. The decline in newspapers and magazines, however, is forecast to worsen, falling by a respective 8.7 per cent and 10.8 per cent.

Taken as a whole, is the UK media industry set to experience strong growth in 2014?

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