updated 12/3/2007 11:22:44 AM ET 2007-12-03T16:22:44

The Internet will overtake radio next year in its share of global advertising spending, a leading advertising forecaster predicted Monday.

ZenithOptimedia, a major advertising company based in England, said that the Internet's share of advertising would rise to 9.4 percent in 2008 from 8.1 percent this year, while radio's share of the ad market would slip to 7.9 percent from 8.2 percent.

Steve King, the CEO of ZenithOptimedia, told a media investor conference in New York that the company didn't expect an ad recession next year, despite a softening world economy, partly due to several events that are expected to boost ad spending: the U.S. presidential election, the Beijing Olympics, and the soccer championships in Europe.

All told, ZenithOptimedia now expects global advertising spending to grow 6.7 percent in 2008, an acceleration from the 5.3 percent rate that is expected in 2007.

King said he expected the "quadrennial" effect of the elections, Olympics and soccer championship to add about $6 billion in advertising spending globally next year, accounting for most of the acceleration in ad spending growth.

Without that effect, King said, worldwide ad spending growth would remain roughly flat with this year, expanding at a rate of 5.4 percent.

King said that emerging markets such as central and eastern Europe and Asia excluding Japan had become the largest drivers of global advertising spending, compensating for slower growth in developed markets. King was speaking at an investor conference sponsored by UBS.

Another advertising forecaster, Bob Coen of Universal McCann, said he expected global advertising growth of 4.6 percent next year. However, Coen's forecast doesn't include paid search advertising on the Internet.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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