Our (self-described) "ruthless" overlord Nick Denton has gone on record predicting "a decline of up to 40% in advertising spending during this cycle." Thousands of media jobs have already been lost due to low ad revenues, and major ad agencies are predicted to be making large layoffs in January. And, of course, everyone is "terrified" that the collapse of the auto industry will hammer the ad industry in its wake. So how do the newly-released forecasts for ad spending next year look? Pretty optimistic, all things considered:

  • "Publicis Groupe media agency ZenithOptimedia expects U.S. ad spending to drop 6.2% in 2009 to $161.8 billion."
  • "WPP's agency GroupM sees a decline of 3% to $157 billion."
  • "Fitch Ratings cautioned that U.S. ad spending next year would drop between 6% and 9%."
  • "UBS is forecasting that U.S. ad spending will fall 6% in 2009 but doesn't anticipate the ad spending decline will be as steep as in 2001."
  • "Online ad spending is expected to increase 5% in 2009, down from 16% growth in 2008, according to GroupM. TV spending also should fare relatively well in the downturn."

If these come true it will be a god damn blessing. [WSJ; pic by Nick Denton]