SMI Data: January Ad Spends Down 10% YOY, As Government Spends Evaporate

SMI Data: January Ad Spends Down 10% YOY, As Government Spends Evaporate

Australia’s media agency market has again battled against a record prior year period and eroding Government category ad spend post COVID with the value of January ad demand falling 10 per cent year-on-year to $542.6 million.

But that total is still the second highest January ad spend in SMI history, with last year’s astonishing growth mostly due to an Australian Open broadcast fuelled by the success of Ash Barty and a strong stream of COVID-related advertising.

But SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the trend in Government ad spend has since changed significantly with the total back 48 per cent year-on-year in January as the need for Governments to promote COVID messaging has reduced.

“The unusually high level of Government category ad spend that SMI has been reporting across the past two years had to return to a more normal level once the COVID threat eased, and that’s now happening,’’ she said.

“The SMI data shows how much the Government category has buoyed the market with the category’s decline of $25 million representing almost half the total market decline this month. And when we remove Government spend from the data we see Outdoor ad spend grew by 5.1 per cent, Radio bookings rose by 2.4 per cent and Cinema’s growth jumped to 66 per cent.’’

Ractliffe said the Government decline also disguised strong gains among other product categories in January, with ad spend within the largest category of Retail growing 8.7 per cent year-on-year, Insurance advertising became the second largest this month after lifting 12 per cent and Travel ad spend continued to soar with the total up 64 per cent in January.

Among the key media, Digital ad spend fell for the second consecutive month in January despite higher spend to Streaming Sites due to the Australian Open.

But Programmatic and Social Media ad spend continue to decline. TV was also back – mostly due to the huge prior year period – Outdoor ad spend was stable and Cinema and Magazines both reported strong double digit growth.

And the Australian ad market remains strongly in record territory across the seven months of the current financial year with ad demand up 1.9 per cent to $5.2 billion mostly due to huge growth in the Automotive Brand and Travel categories.

At this level, the ad market is more than $500 million larger than it was at the same time in the pre-COVID 2019/20 period. Outdoor and Cinema are reporting the strongest FYTD gains as they continue their COVID rebound (+29 per cent and +57 per cent respectively) and Magazine ad spend is up 9.3 per cent with related Digital revenues included. On this basis, Radio/Audio ad spend is also stable.

“We’ve seen the value of the Australian ad market move beyond $9 billion for the first time in the last calendar year, and with the current momentum and with what we’re seeing in SMI’s forward pacings data it looks certain that we’ll further exceed that level in the current financial year,’’ Ractliffe said.




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