ZenithOptimedia has predicted global ad spend to be £14.3b (AUD$32.3b) down on forecasts made just two months ago as the financial crisis hits advertising harder than expected.

The company also says that as a result of the economic crisis, it will now start reviewing its figures monthly instead of quarterly. Despite these predictions, it expects a mild recovery to begin in the third quarter of 2009.

The media-buying division of Publicis Groupe will announce that it has dramatically reduced its prediction for worldwide ad spend growth in 2009 – it had forecast 4% growth in October, but is now predicting a 0.2% decline, with the greatest downward revisions in the US and European markets.

Australia will also lose its place in the top 10 ad-spending nations by 2010, according to the predictions. Along with Spain, Australia is set to be pushed out of the top nations thanks to increased spend from Brazil and Russia, currently in 11th and 13th places respectively.

But the company still believes developing advertising markets will lead growth in the long term, forecasting that they will contribute up to 89% of all ad expenditure growth between 2008 and 2011.

Quoted in Media Week, Jonathan Barnard, head of publications at ZenithOptimedia, says, “The picture you get for the next two years really depends on where you look. Emerging markets are still healthy, although the rate of growth is expected to slow in 2009.”

Internet advertising will grow fastest at 17.7% in 2009, while newspapers and radio ad spend are expected to decline.

Is this the time for advertising and marketing departments to panic? According to ZenithOptimedia, yes it is but things will pick up in the long term… probably.