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Outdoor the only major media to report double digit growth as newspaper spend falls

Agency spend in newspaper media has failed to retain the rare year-on-year upwards trajectory it saw in August, SMI data has revealed.

Last month, total newspaper bookings were up 2.7% in August compared to the previous year, which was the first upwards result for the industry in nearly three years.

September’s data did not see that trend continuing, with newspapers down 17.4%, and news websites sitting at a 14.6% decline from last year’s figure.

The story was similar across other media, with outdoor being the only major media to report double digit growth, with an increase of 14.8% from the previous year.

However, as the SMI points out, last September saw a flurry of advertising related to the Same Sex Marriage debate, which pushed ad spend to new highs, making a year-on-year comparison challenging.

SMI’s data for September

Despite the challenges, total ad spend remained relatively stable on the previous year, down just 1% to $665.9 million.

When looking at the calendar year to date, the overall ad spend has grown to a record $5.3 billion, up 4.2% on the same time period in the previous year. The market also remains at a record level on the September quarter level, with ad spend up by 1.6% to $1.8 billion.

Jane Ratcliffe, managing director of SMI Australia and New Zealand, said the SMI data highlights the changing spend patterns of major product categories which are affecting the level of market demand.

“This was the first month of 2018 in which we’ve seen a year-on-year decline in spending by the domestic bank advertisers, and they have been one of the key drivers of the record levels of ad spend we’ve seen this year given their higher level of advertising investment throughout the financial services Royal Commission,” she said.

“And there was also unusually soft demand from the gambling advertising market with those advertisers collectively reporting a double-digit decline in ad spend despite the month featuring the AFL and NRL Grand Finals.”

The September SMI data also showed a 22% growth from auto brands, 7.3% in the home furnishing and appliances market, and a return to growth for the toiletries and cosmetics category with a 6.2% increase.

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