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MADRID, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Spanish media companies expect advertising spending to fall almost twice as fast as previously thought in 2013 as their clients face another year of economic recession.
Spain's media have been struggling ever since the global credit crunch hit, coping with five years of stagnation or recession and with austerity measures hitting spending and confidence.
Based on forecasts from sales and marketing directors at Spanish media groups, a survey from consultancy Zenith predicted Spain's battered advertising sector would not pick up until April 2014.
The poll released on Tuesday forecast advertising spending will fall 7 percent this year, almost double the 3.6 percent fall expected just two months ago.
The worsening expectations come as Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy prepares a package of micro-measures to cushion specific sectors like small companies and car sales from deep austerity measures.
Recent years have seen revenue from once lucrative property and car advertising plummet as companies went to the wall and banks pulled credit.
Since 2008, more than 57 media outlets have closed and others have had to make journalists redundant.
The gloomier outlook dampened media shares. At 1255 GMT, shares in Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 were down 3.45 percent 4.76 euros while shares in Mediaset Espana fell 1.26 percent to 5.73 euros.
If advertisers cut spending as the survey predicts in 2013, total spending will fall to around 4.0 billion euros, amounting to a halving on 2007 before the crisis hit.
"Although a fall of 7 percent is bad news for the sector, it can be seen as bringing a certain relief to a very negative trend," Zenith said in a statement.
An index released last week by consultancies Arce Media and Media Hotline estimated advertising spending fell 18 percent.
Newspapers and television companies see the darkest outlook. Mainstream television companies expect spending to fall in 2013 by 9 percent, compared with the 4.5 percent they forecast in November.
Paid-for newspapers see a slump of 10.2 percent, compared with a 7.9 percent drop in November.
Spain slipped into its second recession in two years at the end of 2011 and is unlikely to see growth before 2014, while unemployment soared to a record high at the end of last year of 26 percent.
Data on Tuesday showed retail sales fell in December for the 30th time in a row. (Reporting By Sarah Morris; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)