Advertising Forecasters' Crystal Ball Officially Broken

Tough year for those in the business of making ad forecasts. Basically, everyone who’s made a prediction is revising it — and that goes for analysts as well as for CEOs.

Thanks to BMO Capital Markets and Bankrate, we’re seeing both types of revisions today: BMO media/advertising analyst Leland Westerfield dropped his 2008 U.S. ad forecast; he now predicts spending will increase a mere 1.8%, down from a previous prediction of 3.6%.

More significantly: Westerfield predicts Robert Coen, director of forecasting at Universal McCann, and considered the dean of ad prognosticators, will drop his 2008 forecast tomorrow when he delivers his semi-annual forecase. That would actually mark Coen’s second cut: He predicted 5% U.S. growth in 2008 a year ago, and dropped it to 3.7% in December.

Will he drop it again tomorrow? And if he does, can we all agree to stop making predictions?

  • June 30: Zenith Optimedia cuts its U.S. ad forecast for the second time in three months
  • May 30: Lehman drops 2008 U.S. online ad forecast from 24% growth to 23%
  • March 19: eMarketer cuts its 2008 online ad forecast 6%
  • September 14: Oppenheimer cuts 2008 U.S. online ad estimate 26% growth to 25%

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