ZenithOptimedia Canadian forecast (relatively) bullish

The Canadian arm of the global agency increases its growth projection for 2010, but notes that this year's rebound will ease in 2011.

ZenithOptimedia’s Canadian outlook for the advertising market reflects the greater optimism of 2010, but is tempered by the reality that this year’s rebound-fuelled growth is not likely to last.

The Toronto office of the global agency has increased its Canadian ad market growth projection for 2010 from 5.4% to 6.5%, and says that it expects 80% of the ad investment lost in 2009 to return by the end of Q4. However, it notes that the pace of growth will not continue into 2011 and forecasts a reduced growth rate of 4.5%. ‘It appears,’ the report said, ‘that this recovery will be slower than has been the case historically.’

Online looks to be the biggest winner in share of Canadian spend this year, being the only medium other than mobile that posted gains in last year’s dismal media market. This year, the report points out, online is set to challenge former media behemoth newspaper for second place in overall spend behind TV. Online is expected to keep up its heady pace, gobbling up an estimated 22.5% of ad spend by 2012. Display and SEM will continue to increase alongside, and current media star, video, is ‘growing by leaps and bounds, limited only by the ability of inventory to keep pace,’ it noted.

Although each posted losses in 2009, radio and OOH are back on track with the market and are expected to regain their former glory in 2010 and 2011, respectively. (The report notes, however, that OOH rates may rise in Toronto if the legal challenge to the city’s ‘billboard tax’ fails.) ZenithOptimedia also had positive words for newspaper’s digital models, predicting that ‘with the right business model, newspaper brands and journalism will thrive,’ but noting that the same positivity can’t be extended to the print model, which will ‘continue to suffer after a brief respite in 2010/2011.’ Magazines will fare a bit better, it predicted, wrapping the year with a 1.2% boost, but are facing the same digital-versus-print-dollars conundrum as their newspaper brethren.

Perhaps the report’s most optimistic outlook was for TV, which it noted had ‘picked up faster than anticipated’ in 2009/2010 and will end up posting 7.6% growth. It predicts a further 4% growth in 2010/2011.

The Canadian data was part of a global forecast released by the agency, in which it upgraded its ad spend forecast for 2010 to 4.8% from 3.5% earlier this year.