LONDON, UK — The man once described as “Madison Avenue’s de facto chief economist” thinks 2024 will be an okay year for ad spend, even without the contribution from US elections.

In 2023, Brian Wieser formed his own Madison and Wall advisory service after stints as a research analyst at Pivotal and global president at GroupM.

He sees advertisers moving budget out of traditional TV.

But, speaking to me at Looking Ahead: TV in Europe 2025, a Beet.TV Leadership Summit, presented by Magnite & Publica, Wieser says brands should think for themselves before following the crowd away from TV advertising.

2023: A surprisingly good year

Wieser thinks US national TV ad sales in Q3 2023 were down 3.2%, even including streaming platforms, but he thinks that is not the horror show many were expecting.

“I think there were a lot of people coming into 2023 who were fearing the worst,” Wieser explains.

This negative sentiment, he believes, was unwarranted. “Some of the growth was almost guaranteed because the comparables were so easy.”

What drove that growth? “Cross border advertising is one of the main drivers, (it is) really underappreciated how much money flows from China into the US and other countries.”

Looking ahead to 2024

As the industry looks forward to 2024, Wieser predicts a “slightly softer market, but still a strong one”.

He predicts a 5.2% overall US ad spend gain, but writes:

“National TV should continue to decline at a low single digit level, although a growing share will undoubtedly be accounted for by the likes of Amazon and any other platform that can persuade advertisers their digital platforms are “TV”.

Despite the potential for a healthy influx of political advertising due to the upcoming presidential election, Wieser tends to exclude this from his analysis.

GroupM forecasts TV’s share of the global ad market will decline to 17.9% in 2024. TV ad growth is expected to be just 1.1% over the next five years. That is despite growth of 9.5% from connected TV advertising.

“Inflation is not a factor really,” Wieser told me, explaining that inflation usually has a positive impact on advertising because it increases the amount of money in the market.

Digital platform rivals

But Wieser is not optimistic about the future of TV advertising, seeing the impact of “creative destruction”.

“The incumbent marketers who’ve been around for 20 and 30 and 40 years, they are shifting their spending out of television – packaged goods in particular, because they need to fund their retail media somehow,” Wieser says.

He believes that the biggest beneficiaries of this shift will be social media owners like TikTok and Meta.

Zig when others zag

But Wieser says that individual marketers should not simply follow the crowd.

His advice to marketers? “Zig when others zag”. He encourages marketers to assess their marketing mix models, strike the right balance between spend on creative versus media, and explore underutilized media like direct mail and radio.

“If there’s one thing to kind of hope for any one marketer, it’s just know what everyone else is doing and then do something different.”

You’re watching “Looking Ahead: TV in Europe 2025,” a Beet.TV Leadership Summit, presented by Magnite & Publica. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.