SMI: April ad spend falls 9.2 per cent, newspapers hardest hit again

April was a bleak month in advertising with media agency expenditure falling 9.2 per cent or $53.8m year on year as extended holidays took their toll on the industry.

According to the Standard Media Index (SMI) media agency billings dropped to $530.5m for the month, with executives pointing to the proximity of Anzac day to Easter and advertiser hesitation ahead of this week’s federal budget. 

In total the metro TV market revenue was down 13.2 per cent year on year to $182.9m, down $27.7m on last year. Seven had a record share of revenue hitting 43.6 per cent on the back of the finale of the franchise My Kitchen Rules, Nine fell 1.1 per cent to a 37.1 per cent share, which it has blamed on a delayed start to The Voice, while Ten’s share continues to slump amid continuing lacklustre ratings with just 19.3 per cent.

Kurt Burnette, Seven’s chief revenue officer said: “This is a record share for Seven.  It underlines how every part of our business – across television and publishing – is outpointing its competition. 

“We’re growing revenue and audience and extending our leadership.  The comparisons for the market on April last year are as we expected impacted by timings for Easter and the long holiday period across Easter and Anzac Day.”

In percentage terms newspapers were again the worst affected sector with revenue down for the metropolitan newspapers $9.5m year on year to $34.9m a decline of 21.5 per cent.

The news comes on the same day that the Audit Bureau reports continuing double digit drops in many print circulations and mixed results in digital subscriptions. According to the SMI data, newspaper revenue across the category has declined 43 per cent since 2011 where it was $100.7m to $57.2m last month. However, publishers point to an increase in their digital ad revenues, as well as many advertisers who book directly with them, not through agencies.

Magazines as a category also reported falls in revenues of 12.2 per cent with revenue down $2.9m year on year to $20.9m.

Radio also posted a double digit decline with revenue down 12.4 per cent with revenue of $37.2m, down $5.2m on last year.

Even the normally robust sector of digital was not immune from the market declines posting a rare negative revenue result down year on year 1.3 per cent to $98.2m, although that figure is often subject to revision once late booking data is added to the system.

Outdoor and cinema were the only sectors to report an increase in revenue with out of home advertising up 1.5 per cent while cinema bounced back on the back of the school holidays recording a 49.8 per cent growth after a poor result last month to have revenue of $5.4m.

Nic Christensen 


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