ZenithOptimedia predicts 12.1 per cent drop in regional adspend

ZenithOptimedia has drastically reduced its Middle East and North Africa adspend forecasts for the year.

The Publicis Groupe media agency has downgraded the region’s predicted performance for 2011 from 0.1 per cent growth to a 12.1 per cent decline due to political unrest. The decline will affect Egypt, Bahrain and Oman the most, but ZenithOptimedia has also downgraded its pan-Arab forecasts, as well as those for the UAE and Saudi Arabia, all of which are now expected to post negative growth.

In April, ZenithOptimedia had predicted Egypt’s adspend for the year would fall by 20 per cent. That has now been reduced to a decline of 40.6 per cent, while Bahrain’s total spend is expected to drop by 65.1 per cent compared with the 19 per cent forecast in April. Oman’s was also expected to fall by 19 per cent, but has been upgraded to -5.2 per cent.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia, forecast to rise by 5.2 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively in April, are now both expected to post negative growth, with falls of 14 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively. Pan-Arab adspend, previously deemed to be robust, will also fall by 10.4 per cent from $2.25 billion to $2 billion. Only Qatar, Kuwait and Lebanon are predicted to post positive growth – of 1.3 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively.

“The political turmoil has spread further, and advertisers have continued to pull campaigns in the three relatively large ad markets that have been engulfed in this turmoil (Bahrain, Egypt and Oman), as well as cutting back their exposure in pan-regional media,” says the agency’s report on global adspend, which updates the report issued in April.

“On the upside, we now predict an 8.9 per cent rebound in 2012 (compared to the 4.8 per cent we predicted in April), on the assumption that the political situation in the region stabilises,” the report added. The effect of these changes at a global level will be limited as the region accounts for only 1 per cent of global adspend.

At a global level, having previously predicted 4.2 per cent global growth, the agency has shaved just 0.1 per cent off and predicts total adspend will still return to $471 billion, the level it reached before the recession.