There’s encouraging news for just about everyone except the broadcast networks — and the usual suspects among fading traditional media — in the latest ad forecast out this morning from Zenith Optimedia. The economy “is in a much better place than it was three years ago,” the ad firm says. As a result, overall ad spending growth in the U.S. will accelerate from 3.6% this year to 3.8% in 2013 and then to 4.7% in 2014. But the broadcast networks are headed in the other direction with sales going from -1% in 2012 to -2.5% in 2013 and -3.0% in 2014. The report says that NBC will have a tougher time with the Summer Olympics in London than it had for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. With the time difference, “more viewers are expected to tune in online to watch their favourite events rather than wait to watch prerecorded versions.” The shift to cable of college sports including BCS football bowl games and NCAA men’s basketball also has led some advertisers — including pharmaceutical, financial, and consumer products companies — to shift their spending. Those dollars “do not look to be coming back to network TV.” That will contribute to ad growth in cable of 10% this year, then 10.5% and 11% in 2014. ZenithOptimedia still sees pockets of trouble, including at Discovery and Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. The network “has underperformed expectations, and projections of losses for the company are in the region of $330 million…While OWN still has time to recover, the prospects are looking murkier for the cable network.”
Elsewhere, the forecasters project growth for spot TV (8% in 2012, 3% in 2013, and 4% in 2014), the Internet (17.9%, 18.3%, 18.3%), radio (3%, 2%, 1%), and movie theaters (5% each year). Those losing out will include syndicated TV (-12%, -10.5%, -11%), consumer magazines (-3%, -3%, -2.2%), and newspapers (-8% each year).