Media Advertising Is Back—Sort of


When it comes to the advertising market, there's the good news, and then there's the bad news.

Since it's Friday the 13th, let's start with the good news: America's advertising market is coming back strong, especially when it comes to some media outlets.

That's according to Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of advertising giant WPP Group, who joined us on Squawk Box today.

We saw signs of that recovery earlier this week when Disney reported earnings and said advertising rates for the scatter market were up 20 percent from the upfronts. Sorrell says that strength is broad-based.

But that silver lining comes with a big black cloud, as well.

First, the rebound is a relative one, and we're coming off the worst downturn, Sorrell recalls, in his decades of business. He still says that this recovery will be a "slog," especially when it comes to Western Europe.

Secondly, he says, there's a huge amount of uncertainty among the corporate chieftains who decide how much of their budgets to spend on advertising.

("Unusual uncertainty" seems to be the buzz phrase du jour. Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke used it recently to describe the economy. And Cisco CEO John Chambers used it to describe his customers' outlookthis week after the company reported earnings.)

Sorrell says the uncertainty he sees is due to two factors: questions about the economy and questions about the policies to come from Washington.

More from Becky Quick:

Contact U.S. News


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More

Don't Miss

U.S. Video

  • Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations, looks at how the markets are reacting to Janet Yellen's views on progress in the labor market. Cashin explains why he is now going to pay more attention to Vice Chair Stanley Fischer.

  • Discussing when the Fed should raise rates, and the significance of the Fed's structural versus cyclical debate, with former Dallas Fed President Robert McTeer. McTeer says Janet Yellen needs to put more emphasis on what's happening to productivity.

  • Discussing monetary policy and Janet Yellen's comments coming out of Jackson Hole, with David Spika, The Westwood Funds senior vice president, and Andrew Burkly, Oppenheimer managing director.