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Citing 'More Positive' Expectations, Wieser Boosts 2024 Ad Growth Forecast To 5.6%.

According to Madison and Wall's Brian Wieser, things are looking even brighter for the ad business.

For the second time since September 2023, Wieser has updated his U.S. ad forecast for 2024, from an initially-predicted 4.3% increase to November's revised 5.2%, to a now-more-upbeat 5.6%, based on improvements in the economy. Wieser's forecast, which excludes political ads, also pushes expected first-quarter ad revenue growth up from 7% to 8%.

As for political advertising in this Presidential election year, Wieser now sees that hitting $15.5 billion across all media in 2024, up from 2020's $14.1 billion, with nearly two-thirds of that spend projected to go to TV, and a third to digital.

"To explain why I’m more positive about the market than I was before, future economic expectations – which I already viewed positively throughout 2022 and 2023 – have improved noticeably," Wieser writes in the Madison and Wall newsletter. "GDP forecasts for 2024 in real terms were up by nearly a percentage point in February vs. November in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Professional Forecasters’ release, with implied nominal GDP expectations approaching 5% for 2024 vs. closer to 4% previously."

Wieser sees digital ad revenue up 10.7% excluding political ads in 2024, with Q1 2024 growth at 14.2%. Although Wieser's digital forecast for the year is down from 2023's 12.9% gain, he still expects digital to account for three-fourths (76%) of all ad spend by 2028, up significantly from 2023's 64%.

Driving digital's growth, Wieser says, will be commerce and social media, with the former expected to double from its 2023 level and hit $82 billion in ad revenue by 2028. Social media is poised to grow 14.5% in the first quarter and 11.7% for the year, with a slight boost from political ads.

The forecast shows television advertising downtrending, with projected declines of 3.5% in Q1 2024 and 3.2% for the year, although connected TV should grow 18% and hit $20 billion in annual ad revenue, making up 29% of all TV advertising.

"I expect television at a national level (including connected TV) to continue to experience the challenges I have written about previously (i.e. creative destruction in the economy favoring advertisers who use little television and mix shifts from incumbent advertisers favoring 'performance' media overlapping negative sentiment driven by cord-cutting and ad inventory erosion)," Wieser writes. “Notably, while I expect that Amazon’s new ad-supported offering will generate a lot of revenue for Amazon, I expect their gains will primarily come at the expense of other owners of traditional TV ad inventory.”

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