Australia’s media agency market took a breather in May, reporting essentially flat ad spend in a market devoid of major sporting or other events, with total bookings dipping 0.3 per cent to $623.9 million.
And while the market achieved record ad spend in April, it faced a tougher benchmark this month given the huge growth in Government spending seen in the lead up to the 2016 Federal election which saw total bookings reach $642.4 million in May that year.
Also the market lacked any impetus this May from one-off events, with the NRL State of Origin series falling entirely in June this year while one match was played in May last year. Despite that, the Metropolitan TV market grew Agency bookings by 0.5 per cent this month.
But the strongest growth in May came from the major media of radio (+10.9 per cent ex audio websites) and cinema (+16.9 per cent). But the data is also notable for the continuing improvement of the newspaper media, with total bookings down only 5.2 per cent, while the regional press market grew 6.7 per cent YOY and the community press sector by 7.6 per cent in May.
“All year we’ve been seeing positive signs emerging from the newspaper media with the community newspaper sector, for example, also attracting higher agency demand in January (+3.4 per cent YOY) and February (+5.9 per cent YOY),’’ according to SMI’s AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe.
“Similarly, agencies are also rediscovering regional press with bookings in March jumping 12 per cent and the total for the first five months of this calendar year back only one per cent. And of course these figures all exclude ad spend to their related Digital websites.”
Meantime, agency spending to the digital media slowed in May with the total up a lesser 2.8 per cent, with the SMI data also highlighting the diverging fortunes of various digital media.
For example, agency bookings to the search and social media sectors continued to grow rapidly with their total ad spend up 12.8 per cent and 13 per cent respectively this month. But as programmatic bookings continue to rise (+15.3 per cent in May) the amounts spent directly with digital publishers continues to fall and this month was down 19 per cent YOY.
And SMI’s digital ad format data also highlights the difficulties faced by digital publishers reliant on pure display advertising as that market has fallen by 8.8 per cent this month and is the only digital format for which SMI is reporting lower bookings.
And in another data development, SMI has this month published the first ad spend for native digital advertising.