Initiative Media predicts swift Iraq war may boost adspend recovery

A swift conclusion to events in Iraq could bring about a revival in advertiser confidence, according to a new report from Initiative Media.

Initiative is predicting growth in UK advertising expenditure of 4.6 per cent during 2003. Its Spheres of Influence report also predicts that US advertising expenditure will grow by 4.5 per cent this year.

However, the report suggests that advertisers remain cautious about the global picture. Philip Walker, the business development director at Initiative, said: "Our view is that they will bring money back in after a difficult year, but a lot depends on the next few weeks. If one sees a short, sharp resolution to the Iraq situation, then it could bring a lot of confidence back into the market."

Global advertising expenditure will grow by 4.5 per cent on last year's figure of $251 billion, the report says. This growth figure is ahead of inflation, meaning that Initiative is predicting real growth for the first time in three years.

UK growth will be driven by a 3.8 per cent boost to TV expenditure, a 48 per cent increase in internet ad revenues, and slight increases in cinema and outdoor spending, the report suggests.

The prediction of a rise in global expenditure follows last year's small growth of 0.9 per cent in spend across the 40 markets included in Initiative's report. In 2001, there was a 4.2 per cent decline.

Adspends across Western Europe will remain stagnant, but Central and Eastern Europe is more buoyant. Latin America will bounce back after a difficult 2002.