SMI Data: September Agency Bookings Up 3.1%, As The Insurance Category Soars

SMI Data: September Agency Bookings Up 3.1%, As The Insurance Category Soars
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Standard Media Index (SMI) is reporting contrasting advertising demand trends on either side of the Tasman, with New Zealand reporting a record level of September bookings while the Australian market was more subdued.

New Zealand media agency advertising soared 15.1 per cent to break through the $100 million mark for the first time in a September month as the Rugby World Cup and local elections fuelled advertising demand.

Meantime, the Australian market reported a steadier result with September bookings back just 3.1 per cent to nearly $650 million – a result higher than the last “normal” September month in 2016 (as September 2017’s results were inflated by Same Sex Marriage ad spend and last September the Financial Services Royal Commission abnormally grew bookings).

But in Australia the insurance category remains by far the fastest growing, with its total media investment up 37 per cent in September and it’s also the fastest growing in the September quarter with those bookings up 32 per cent.

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the impact of the Rugby World Cup was clearly evident in NZ where it prompted a 22.4 per cent increase in NZ Television ad spend.

“The Rugby World Cup has also had some impact on Australian television revenues, with the metropolitan TV sector reporting its strongest month in a year, and that’s despite the absence of the NRL Grand Final revenues this September,’’ she said.

“But in New Zealand the excitement surrounding this tournament also drove general market confidence with the country’s outdoor media, for example, lifting revenues by 42 per cent and radio ad spend growing 5.7 per cent.’’

The New Zealand market also benefited from the start of local council elections in September, resulting in the government category emerging as the fastest growing in New Zealand this month.

But in Australia the insurance category remains by far the fastest growing, with its total media investment up 37 per cent in September and it’s also the fastest growing in the September quarter with those bookings up 32 per cent.

Media companies also seem more positive about the outlook for the Australian market as their total investment in advertising their own content inventory has jumped 59 per cent in September.

But the best performing Australian media this month was outdoor, with its bookings jumping nine per cent to also be beyond $100 million in a September month for the first time. However, this may have been aided by an extra Monday this month which pulled some October revenues into the spend.

And in terms of advertising expenditure so far this calendar year, the NZ market is now in positive territory (up 1.4 per cent) given that in the past four months the market has been able to emerge from 12 months of decline.

In Australia the downturn started later and the market is yet to return to positive territory, so for the calendar year period it remains back 4.7 per cent compared to the same nine months of 2018.

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