2011 looks set to be a good year for the media, with the annual Starcom MediaVest Group 'Media Futures' survey predicting a 6 percent growth in advertising spend.

The prediction comes on the back of last year’s strong growth predictions of a 5.3 percent increase. It’s a far cry from the bleak outlook for 2009, where the GFC brought the market down 2.4 percent – the largest decrease in advertising expenditure ever predicted by the 26-year-old report.

“The continued economic stability in the second half of 2010 is reflected in the positive mood of advertisers for 2011,” Starcom MediaVest Group CEO John Sintras says. “Almost all sectors of mainstream media are set to benefit from ad budget increases in 2011, with more than half of advertisers expecting to increase their above the line expenditure.“

Sebastian Rennie, national trading director at media, tells Marketing magazine that the predictions have proven good indicators of economic trends in the past.

“There was absolutely growth last year,” Rennie says. “In 2009, the market declined off the back of the GFC, but the speed of recovery, especially with television, caught a lot of people by surprise. We’re expecting to see modest growth this year.”

Rennie believes television will continue to rise from what once seemed a guaranteed slow death, with new free-to-air channels proving popular with advertisers.

“2010 saw an increase in demand for television,” he tells Marketing mag. “We’re in a different landscape with the new digital channels, they’ve really reinvigorated TV. It’s more attractive to advertisers, there’s increased audiences, and it’s reversed the decline in younger audiences.”

However, the great initial success of new digital television options has brought challenges as well.

“These new stations have fragmented audience viewing,” Rennie says. “If you’re trying to reach the same audience you did five years ago, you have to go to the new digital channels, you can’t just use the majors.”

Rennie also predicts OOH advertising will continue to grow rapidly.

“The OOH guys have posted some good revenue,” he says. “The introduction of MOVE has helped. They were hit hard by the GFC, but they’re more accountable than they were now.”

The survey uses telephone interviews and online surveying of Australia’s top 600 national advertisers and senior media executives from free-to-air television, subscription television, newspapers, radio, internet, magazines, OOH and cinema.