Confirming the massive downturn in advertising in the Western media, the latest Bellwether report, released on Saturday by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and accountancy group BDO, says advertising budgets hit their lowest levels in two years at the end of 2009.
The report, considered a key measure of the health of the ad industry, says the amount of money spent on ad campaigns in the three months to the end of December fell for the ninth consecutive quarter.
But internet advertising continues to rise and lead the way to recovery.
Bellwether, confining its survey to the UK, found that 25 per cent of companies reduced marketing spend in the fourth quarter, while just 18 per cent recorded an increase. This was the lowest level of budget trimming in almost two years.
Marketing spend on the main media, such as TV, press and radio advertising, suffered most, with 22 per cent of UK companies saying they cut back on spending on traditional media channels in the fourth quarter.
The IPA, which produces the quarterly survey, nonetheless took heart from the finding that advertisers are setting higher budgets for 2010 than for the previous year, a reversal of the previous two years' trends.