According to revised projections from TNS Media Intelligence, total US advertising spending will increase by 4.9% in 2006 to reach a total of $150.3 billion.

Not bad. Except for one thing. This is a downward revision from the company’s prior forecast, issued in January, of 5.4% growth.

"Although our revised forecast is downward, total advertising spending is still on track to achieve respectable, moderate gains during 2006," said Steven Fredericks, CEO of TNS Media Intelligence. "Performance will be sharply delineated along sector lines with Internet, Spanish Language Media and most forms of television registering above average growth rates while radio and print media lag behind."

In fact, the Internet and Spanish Language Media are still predicted to show robust growth for the year, running nearly neck-and-neck with roughly 13% growth rates.

"What’s striking about the TNS Internet ad spending figure is how the company does not currently factor in paid search advertising," said David Hallerman, eMarketer Senior Analyst. "When you do include paid search, which makes up more than 40% of the entire US online ad market, the potential growth rate tops 30% for this year, not just that 13% mark.

"In fact, if you strip all of Internet ad spending from the total media pie," he added, "then the overall growth rate for US advertising drops to only 2.8% in 2006, according to eMarketer estimates."

For comparison, earlier in the year Merrill Lynch, had predicted a 5.3% overall growth rate for US advertising.

On the other hand, an even earlier prediction by BIPE/Groupe Interdeco/OMD pegged US ad growth this year at 4.4%.

The one thing they all agree on, US ad spending is growing.

More here.