Slow December sees advertising market finish flat for 2014 as papers lose another $127m

A drop in spending in December has resulted in the advertising industry recording a flat year in 2014.

SMI data standard media indexNew data from Standard Media Index – which covers spending by major media agencies – says that advertising spending in December fell by 5.8%, or $33m, in the crucial last month of the year, with revenues dropping from $565.8m in December 2013 to $533.2m in December 2014.

As a result, 2014 adspend – which had shown growth for the first 11 months of the year – went slightly backwards compared to the previous 12 months according to the initial numbers. Agencies booked an estimated $7,487m – down 0.1% on 2013’s $7,497m. However, late data will be likely to move that number up slightly, driving the market into a slight positive overall number.

The biggest favourable shift in adspend came in advertising exchanges, which rose by $52m to $175m for the year, on the back of the continuing move in the market towards programmatic trading.

The sector which saw the biggest fall was metro newspapers, which bled another $95m of display advertising revenue in 2014, representing a year-on-year drop of 16%. Regional newspapers were down 3.2% for the year. The total newspaper sector dropped $127m.

The figures suggest that 2015 will probably see the outdoor advertising industry’s revenues overtake newspapers for the first time. Newspapers now have a share of 10.4% of the advertising market, down from 12.1% in 2013. Meanwhile, outdoor rose from 8.8% to a record high for the medium of 9.7% in 2013.

Outdoor spend also overtook newspapers for the first time in the month of December – with $71m spend on outdoor and just $60m on newspapers last month.

TV remained by far the biggest medium despite falling slightly from a 48.8% share to 47.2%.

Digital’s slice of the pie rose above 20% for the first time – up from 17.4% of the market to 20.1%.

Radio grew slightly from 7.3% to 7.5%.

Magazines also continued to shrink, with their share of the market falling from 3.9% to 3.5%. And cinema fell from last year’s high of 1% to 0.8%.

2014 share:

  • Television – 47.2%
  • Digital – 20.1%
  • Newspapers – 10.4%
  • Outdoor – 9.7%
  • Radio – 7.5%
  • Magazines – 3.5%
  • Cinema – 0.8%

Compared to eight years ago, magazines have slipped from the third biggest medium to seventh, while newspaper share has virtually halved from 19.9% in 2007 to their current 10.4%.

TV went down 4.1 per cent overall in December year-on-year, led by a 4.9 per cent drop in metro markets and 3.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent falls for regional and subscription services.

Whilst initial digital figures suggested the medium was down 4.2 per cent in December, late booking data should see that turn around into positive growth figures.

Automotive was the biggest sector in December with $62.8m of bookings although it was down $2.1m on 2013, whilst retail dropped $9.5m to $53.5m. Food and alcohol was the fourth biggest spending category despite dropping by $7.5m to $33.4m for the month.

Speciality retail was the only one of the top ten sectors to grow in December, up $1.5m to $31.05m.

In 2014 the NSW and ACT market was the biggest, worth $3.89bn. Victoria had spend of $2.38bn while Queensland was worth $665m. The smaller markets (SA, WA, NT and Tasmania) had a combined spend of $435m.

Alex Hayes


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