Buyers look to election as TV ad spend soars

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The Independent Online

Television advertising spending in the UK is forecast to grow at its highest level for almost five years, according to new figures.

Television advertising spending in the UK is forecast to grow at its highest level for almost five years, according to new figures.

Media group Zenith Optimedia has increased its internal growth forecast for the first quarter this year for spending on television advertising to 12 per cent. Before Christmas, it had forecast a rise of only around 5 per cent growth for the quarter, against the first quarter of 2004.

Media buying agencies said that prospects of a general election in May, as well as the economic upturn, have increased demand. The Central Office of Information, which handles all government ad campaigns, is the largest advertiser in the UK. It is not allowed to advertise once an election is called, so spending generally increases before this.

Chris Hayward, head of television at Zenith, said: "Growth is coming from such sectors as cars, telecommunications, financial services, travel and, of course, government spending."

The last time the World Advertising Research Center, which compiles figures for the trade body the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, recorded growth for television ad spend as high as 12 per cent was in the second quarter of 2000.

John Overend, joint managing director at buying agency Opera, backed up Zenith Optimedia's forecast for television. He said Opera's estimates for growth in advertising spend for print and radio were up 3 per cent and 5 per cent respectively for the first quarter of this year.

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