Where’s The Ad Market Headed Next Year? Nick Denton’s Dire Prediction

imageGawker Media head Nick Denton specializes in shock effect. His latest pronouncement? Ad spending will drop 30 percent to 30 percent next year. [Denton emailed me and clarified: “publishers should plan on up to 40% decline during the cycle. (Not all next year necessarily.)] Denton made the comments at a “doom and gloom” event that he hosted in New York last night. It’s a far more morose forecast than what other pundits have been offering —most analysts have been projecting relatively healthy single-digit online ad growth rates. Valleywag said the comments from Denton were part of a soon-to-be-published essay. So what’s a publisher to do? Here’s Denton’s advice:
— Avoid categories not directly hospitable to advertisers: politics is out. Vallewag notes that like Wonkette, Gawker Media may spin-off Consumerist, which is considered less friendly to marketers.
— Lower those bandwidth bills immediately: The piece suggests that Denton could be having a serious talk with his friend Kevin Ryan, the CEO AlleyCorp, who runs the content-delivery network Gawker Media uses about renegotiating that vendor contract.
— Merge titles and move offshore: Valleywag’s Owen Thomas tries to sound upbeat about the prospect of writing a column for Gawker or Gizmodo. From an office in Iceland. And perhaps with less compensation. Update: At the end of the month, Thomas writes, Valleywag will cease to be a standalone site; it will be subsumed into Gawker with Thomas as the sole “wag.”
— Devote more space to ads. More from Denton’s 2009 Media Plan here.
Gawker Media’s Robischon defects to Mansueto: It’s just a coincidence that on the same day Denton issued his dark look ahead, Noah Robischon, managing editor of the Gawker Media Network, says he is leaving for Mansueto Ventures. He tells MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka that he will oversee web operations for its Fast Company Media group, which encompasses the mag’s main site and video channel, as well as Scobleizer.com. Last month, Mansueto folded its digital unit into the company