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Global growth in advertising set to lift Britain's media sector

The surprise recovery of the global advertising markets in the past three months yesterday prompted a leading media agency to boost its forecasts for industry spending this year by more than 50 per cent, and to predict a further spike in 2012.

ZenithOptimedia, which is owned by the French advertising giant Publicis, upgraded its forecast for global advertising expenditure from 2.2 per cent to 3.5 per cent, worth $447.5bn (£294bn) this year.

In the UK, the agency doubled its growth estimates to almost 3 per cent, driven by growth in advertising at national newspapers. The group said the first five months had been "very positive" for print, with revenue growth from the nationals rising 9.5 per cent year on year.

The overall upgrade was prompted by a better-than-expected start to the year in the US and Western Europe, despite debt concerns over some of those countries in the eurozone.

Historically, sharp falls in advertising spending have been followed by a "rebound" three years later, the agency said. Three years after the 1991 slump, spending was up by 6.8 per cent. The same pattern followed the end of the dotcom bubble, with spending up 7.4 per cent.

ZenithOptimedia said: "We forecast a similar year of healthy growth in 2012," predicting spending of $492.6bn (£324bn). This would still be below the average growth rate of the past 25 years "reflecting the severity of the latest downturn".