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ZenithOptimedia Pumps Up Global Ad Forecast

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ZenithOptimedia has upgraded its global forecast for the year, despite soaring oil prices and falling consumer confidence. The U.K.-based media unit of Publicis Groupe now expects major media ad spending to increase by 6.2 percent, up from its 5.7 percent forecast made in July.

"Providing corporate confidence remains favourable—and the message from our network is it will—other threats can actually stimulate ad demand," the company said. "Strength in U.S. auto ad demand is a good example of a specific reaction to hesitant consumers, and many consumer brand owners are relying on heavier marketing of core assets to meet rising retailer power."

In 2005, Zenith now expects global ad spending to rise 4.8 percent, up from the 4.6 percent cited in the company's mid-year forecast, and 2006 should show an increase of 5.6 percent, rather than 5.1 percent.

In the U.S., Zenith predicts ad spending will show a 5.5 percent increase this year versus its earlier estimate of 5.3 percent; in 2005, it sees a 4.2 percent rise, up from 4.1 percent; and in 2006, a 4.8 percent increase, up from 4.5 percent.