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Despite the fact that overall advertising will grow 5% annually over all to be worth £17.9.8 billion by the end of 2017, TV ad revenues are set for a 2.9% year-on-year fall in 2017 before stabilising in 2018, says research by advertising firm GroupM.

The research shows that UK advertising is set to see a ninth successive year of growth, and the nation will remain one of the fastest-growing media markets by 2018 despite what Brexit may do to the economy in general. Yet by GroupM’s calculations, TV advertising will show what would be a first decline in five years in 2017, but is likely to stabilise in 2018 in a context of slower audience loss and attractive pricing.

The company notes that linear TV is not naturally a young medium and calculates that in 2017, impressions among 16-24-year-olds will fall by 12%, and by 8% among 16-34-year-olds. Some of this loss in viewership it notes may be overstated due to poor measurement of audiences across diffuse TV platforms, and the industry can look forward to some improvement with BARB’s 30-platform Dovetail measurement, due March 2018. This says GroupM portends better measurement of video-on-demand (VOD), which has already shown good performance growing investment in 2017, due in part to online brand safety scares.

In aggregate, the research shows that legacy media, including its digital components, will shrink 4.4% in 2017 and a further 2.0% in 2018, according to GroupM, and the outlook for legacy media beyond television remains tough.

“Our forecast shows a stable market in an overall low-growth consumer spending environment. This is encouraging, but we are concerned about pressures on marketers to overweight short-term ROI versus brand building for the long-term. It’s imperative they get the balance right”, said GroupM UK CEO Nick Theakstone. “It’s also crucial that the industry deliver better audience measurement to support media planning for performance and brand building alike. As ever, we lend our full support to industry initiatives like BARB’s Dovetail and PAMCo’s AMP while also filling the gaps we see, like scaling an accountable addressable TV market with our new business, Finecast”.