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Ad bookings tumble in October amid ‘soft conditions’ in print and TV

SMI data standard media indexAustralia’s advertising market tumbled almost $23m in October with TV, newspapers and magazines all showing sharp declines, according to latest industry figures.

The Standard Media Index (SMI) showed total bookings hit $694m, a fall of 3.2 per cent on the same month last year, and follows a record September.

TV fell five per cent to $353m with declines in metropolitan revenue (4.7 per cent), regional (five per cent) and subscription TV (six per cent).

Among the free-to-air networks, Seven’s share slipped marginally to just under 41 per cent while Nine’s share climbed from 37.3 per cent to 38.1 per cent. Ten, which last week urged media agencies to give the network a share of revenue equal to that of its audience, saw a fall of 0.6 points to 21.1 per cent.

In the first four months of the financial year so far Seven took 41.5 per cent, Nine’s share climbed to 38.3, up from 37.7 per cent, and Ten’s dipped from 21.9 to 20.2 per cent.

Print also reported “soft conditions” according to the SMI monthly report as newspaper bookings fell almost 13 per cent to $70m with News Corp and Fairfax experiencing declines of 16 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.

Magazines meanwhile fell 12 per cent to $24m. Seven-owned Pacific Magazines recorded a consumer magazine share of 37.4 per cent, only marginally behind Bauer’s 37.8 per cent despite publishing significantly fewer mags than its competitor.

The sluggish October performance impacted the calendar year which is now lagging 0.7 per cent behind 2013 although last year’s revenue was inflated by the Federal Election. Current bookings remain ahead of 2012.

Outdoor media fared better however and reported its 12th consecutive month of year-on-year growth with a 7 per cent rise to $66m. Digital climbed 2.4 per cent to almost $121m which was driven by increases to social networks, particularly Facebook, a;though those figures usually rise further when late bookings clear the system.

Radio ad bookings increased more than nine per cent to almost $50m.

In the SMI sector analysis, FMCG and travel bookings saw sharp falls of 23 per cent and 36 per cent respectively to $52m and $26.5m while total Government bookings almost doubled to $31m.

Steve Jones

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