Australia’s media agency market looks set to emerge from the doldrums in September, with the Standard Media Index Agency data indicating the market will deliver its first growth in seven months once late Digital bookings are included at month end.
So far this month the agency market is back only three per cent to $626.6 million, but once we have more of the Digital ad spend in the system the total will easily eclipse the record September month set last year.
The positive sentiment was mostly driven by stronger demand for television advertising, which benefited from the inclusion of an AFL Grand Final this September (it was in October last year) and an influx of ad spend relating to the same sex marriage debate.
As a result, total television bookings grew 5.9 per cent from September 2016. Outdoor ad spend also grew significantly (mostly due to strong growth from food/produce/dairy advertisers) and radio’s ad spend was also aided by a strong increase in government bookings, pushing its total spend to be 2.4 per cent above the same time last year.
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Schulze said the September results are a sign that Australia’s advertising market is through the worst of the tough comparative period, although it did also gain an unexpected boost from the same sex marriage debate.
“The market was definitely buoyed by advertising related to the Same Sex Marriage debate, with the Government category delivering the largest year-on-year dollar increase of any category in the month: up 42.3% or $7.2 million from last September. Similarly, SMI’s industry associations/unions category reported the highest percentage growth (up 93.6 per cent) as numerous interest groups voiced their position on the debate,’’ she said.
And apart from those one-off factors, she said there were also signs of returning confidence among key product categories that had been reducing their marketing budgets this calendar year.
“The food/produce/dairy category is reporting a 6.2 per cent fall in ad spend for the first eight months of this year but in September that reversed with the category growing its media investment by 7.8 per cent,’’ Schulze said.
“Similarly, ad spending by the large Travel category is down 2.4 per cent so far this year but in September the category grew bookings by 3.6 per cent mostly due to travel agents significantly growing their TV budgets as overall airline bookings were down.’’