Coles Supermarkets dramatically slashes spending on newspapers and magazines

Coles print spend is down, down.

Coles Supermarkets print spend has gone down, down at the start of 2016.

One of Australia’s biggest advertising spenders has dramatically cut its spending across newspapers and magazines in recent months, Mumbrella can reveal.

Year-on-year, Nielsen estimates Coles Supermarkets has gone from spending around $100,000-$200,000 per week in January and February of 2015 to below $50,000 every week this year, except in the week leading up to Australia Day.

The cuts in print spending have been even more significant, with the supermarket chain’s spending collapsing by a factor of 10 from an estimated $462,000 in January/February of 2015 to just $34,000 this year. 

In newspapers, the percentage decline in metropolitan press was less, but still more than halved – $1.213m for the first two months of last year to $500,000 this year.

However, in regional press the cuts appear to be greater, with Coles going from $909,000 for the first two months of last year to $178,000 in 2016.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the move is permanent or part of a strategic negotiation. Coles declined to comment on the reasons for the change in spending.

The cuts are most likely to impact News Corp Australia and regional publisher APN News & Media with both Coles and its rival supermarket chain Woolworths understood to have spent tens of millions in print advertising – mostly in its metropolitan and regional newspapers.

ColesLast year Coles spent an estimated $11.8m on print advertising. Broken down, that spend saw $7.2m on metropolitan newspapers, $3.8m on regional magazines and $658,000 on magazines.

Any strategic print withdrawal by a major advertiser such as Coles Supermarkets, which had a media spend of $56m last year, risks the potential to spark other advertiser withdrawals, such as from rivals like Woolworths.

According to the most recent Standard Media Index numbers, newspapers were down year to date 18.4% from $471.2m, Jul 2014 -Feb 2015, to $384.5m, for the comparable period this year – a decline of $86.7m.

Magazines were similarly down 14.8% from $151m to $128.6m – a decline of $22.4m.

As Mumbrella revealed earlier this year, Coles Supermarkets, which is in the midst of a major review of its media agency.

Industry rumours suggest that a key driver of the media pitch is cost-cutting by Coles, with the company eager to find savings in its marketing.

Nic Christensen 


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