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Media: A Safe Harbor for Investors and Advertisers

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Included in this week's Subscriber Report: Mid-Year Update of Myers 2010 Media, Marketing and Advertising Investment Forecast

Could the only thing standing in the way of a resurgent and impressively resilient media and advertising business be an economic double dip? Would a sudden downturn cast a pall over the recent barrage of good news across almost all fronts of the media economy? Will the troubling indicators that consumer spending remains sluggish negatively impact on marketers' spending? Is the continuing trend toward last-minute media buying likely to affect Upfront decisions? The devastating blow to the Gulf of Mexico region, the European sovereign debt issue, terrorist activity, and stop/loss volatility on Wall Street may just be spurring that dreaded double dip, and these concerns argue that media and advertising executives should temper their enthusiastic reports to Wall Street and remain cautious.

It's with this sobering reality that I am issuing my mid-year 2010 Myers Marketing and Advertising Spending Forecasts, but I am sufficiently confident in the stability of the media recovery to dramatically reverse my original conservative forecast of -5.9% in 19 media categories to +1.2% for calendar year advertising investments. Excluding newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and yellow pages, the forecast for advertising supported media is a 7.5% increase. The full 1998-2012 Myers data on 19 advertising and nine non-advertising marketing categories is available to subscribers at  http://www.jackmyers.com/commentary/media-business-report/93264219.html.

Ad spending trends in the 4th quarter 2009 and first half (to date) of 2010 speak to the ultimate importance of marketing as a business requirement, and of advertising as an important component of marketing.

The full 2010 Updated Forecasts with comparisons to my original December 2009 forecasts are provided below for subscribers only. I typically issue updates no earlier than July, but the current market conditions have argued for an earlier upward revision -- especially for traditional media. My forecasts are impacted significantly by formal and informal conversations with more than 100 advertising, media and marketing executives. I'm tempted to hold off on my revisions based on last week's multiple events, but I consider it more likely that the media and advertising industry will sustain the recent upward momentum even if the recovery slows.

The Gulf of Mexico disaster COULD slow the economic upturn and there are inevitably more crises on the horizon. The resulting fallout could have a negative ripple effect on the media and advertising recovery. But the safest haven for advertisers – and therefore for investors -- will be the broadcast and top cable networks. Broadcast networks remain the diamonds of the media ecosystem, with the Tiffany network – CBS -- powering their comeback. To only a slightly lesser extent, TV and radio stations plus out-of-home will be secure, influenced heavily by $2.8 - $3.2 billion in expected 2010 political spending. My original digital media forecasts were relatively bullish and I am leaving them intact. I'm even moving consumer magazine ad spending into the plus column, with only yellow pages, newspapers and business-to-business and custom publishing remaining on the negative side.

The power of the media recovery is calling into question the fundamental belief that the 2009 declines resulted partially from economic conditions and were also the result of secular realities. Many forecasters have believed that all traditional media will suffer the fate of the newspaper and yellow pages business, which continue to decline and struggle. But if my revised forecasts prove accurate and the industry continues to validate its "safe harbor" status for marketers and investors, the reports of the imminent death of traditional media will have proven premature, at least for now.

2010 Myers Forecast of Advertising and Marketing Spending in
19 Media and 9 Non-Advertising Marketing Categories

 

To communicate with or to be contacted by the executives and/or companies mentioned in this column, please email your information and the column headline to Jack directly at jm@jackmyers.com.

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This post originally appeared at JackMyers.com.