This Year Next Year: U.S. Media Forecasts

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GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, today released its U.S. Media Forecast Report, detailing the growth the advertising industry experienced in 2018 and what we expect to see through the end of 2019 and 2020.

Last year, underlying growth in the U.S. advertising industry excluding political advertising was +6.0 percent. Our forecast calls for +5.8 percent in 2019 on a similar basis and +4.8 percent in 2020. This definition of advertising includes digital media, television, newspapers, magazines, radio and outdoor media.

Including political advertising the comparable figures look larger with +9.5 percent growth in 2018, +2.6 percent growth in 2019 and +8.2 percent in 2020.

Digital advertising, defined here as excluding advertising associated with other media – digital advertising associated with television content, for example – but including political-related spending, is driving growth; the space saw a +23 percent increase in 2018. Our forecast predicts that digital spending will see +15 percent growth in 2019 and +16 percent growth in 2020. 

Television continues to face challenges as media owners navigate the relative weakness of the marketers who represent the bulk of the medium’s revenues. Excluding political advertising, television grew by +0.7 percent in 2018, but is likely to be flat this year (-0.2 percent) and decline slightly in 2020 (-2.3 percent in our forecast). Including political advertising, we estimate that there was +6.0 percent growth in 2018. On that same note, we forecast a -5.4 percent decline in 2019, but anticipate +3.6 percent growth in 2020. On an underlying basis we expect modest growth for outdoor advertising in 2019 and 2020 and modest declines for radio. We also anticipate sustained declines for print media into the future.

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