The golden age of digital? Digital ad spending expected to surpass TV ad sales soon

Already growing faster than print ad spending, digital advertising is now poised to surpass television ad sales, according to new projections from three big ad companies.

A trio of ad-agency-owned research firms, Interpublic’s Magna Global, Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia and WPP’s Group M, released separate revised forecasts that predict digital media would top TV in ad spending within a few years.

The vigor of the TV advertising market has been hit by what Magna Global calls “digital deflation,” as consumers turn to video-on-demand and streaming services. The shifts in viewing behavior, in turn, have prompted marketers to invest more ad dollars in digital platforms.

In its report, GroupM noted that while TV accounted for nearly 44% of global ad investment, that was at its peak in 2012. Since then it has shed a point per year.


Magna Global expects digital media in the United States will outgrow television as the largest advertising medium by next year -- a year earlier than it previously forecast -- with $66 billion in ad revenue.

ZenithOptimedia is more conservative with its prediction on when digital will ascend past TV ad sales, contending 2018 is the year.

The firm expects mobile advertising will be responsible for much of the digital spending growth, estimating mobile ad growth will account for 87% of all growth in global ad sales between 2015 and 2018.

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