Digital Ad Sales Will Pass TV Spending Very Soon

December 7, 2015, 2:16 PM UTC
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Digital advertising spending has long been growing faster than print ad sales, and now industry forecasts suggest it won’t be long before digital media topples television as well.

The New York Times reports that a pair of ad agency-owned research firms—Interpublic Group’s (IPG) Magna Global and Publicis Groupe’s (PUB) ZenithOptimedia—are both confident that digital media is set to surpass TV on ad spending within only a few years. The firms will present findings from their closely watched industry forecasts at UBS’s global media confab in New York on Monday.

Magna Global, reports the Times, is predicting better than 17% growth this year in digital ad spending, bringing the category to almost $160 billion, or about 31.8% of the $503 billion global ad market. TV ad spending will account for 34.8% of that market this year, Magna Global predicts, with that share shrinking slightly to 34% next year. Digital spending, meanwhile, will grow another 13.4% next year before outpacing TV in 2017, according to the report viewed by the Times. (Last year, Magna Global predicted digital wouldn’t surpass TV until 2018.)

For its part, ZenithOptimedia estimates digital media’s ascendancy past TV, in terms of ad sales, will take place in 2018. The firm expects mobile advertising will drive the digital spending growth, with mobile ad growth alone accounting for 87% of all growth in global ad sales between this year and 2018.

ZenithOptimedia forecasts 4.7% growth in overall global ad spending this year, for a total of $579 billion, which is down from the 4.9% growth it predicted to start the year.

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