ANALYSIS – How far can ad spend go in Australia’s very hot ad market?
Credit: Alain Bonnardeaux via unsplash
Advertising spending, which has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels, is poised to break records as the advertising market hits the last quarter of 2021.
Industry players and market analysts are scrambling to catch up as advertising, as recorded by media agency bookings, takes off.
According to the SMI (Standard Media Index), August was the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year growth. The month was 26.6% higher than the same month last year, up 11.6% from 2019 levels and 4.1% from 2018.
SMI data indicates that FTA advertising market revenue is already above pre-COVID levels and heading for ‘all-time highs’.
Market analysts, seeing strong growth in data from SMI’s agencies, are more optimistic for fiscal 2022.
The UBS investment bank improved its growth forecast for the free-to-air advertising in subways (FTA) market to over 6.5% from 4%.
UBS is also forecasting BVOD growth of over 40% for the 12 months through the end of June next year. This implies a growth of over 9.5% for the combined FTA and BVOD metro.
Ben willee, Managing Director and Media Director at Spinach: “It goes without saying that the advertising market is hot. There is currently a perfect storm of low unemployment, high household savings leading to high consumer confidence.
“That, combined with long lockdowns in Australia’s two biggest cities, means smart brands are ahead of the wave of revenge spending and making sure their brands are a priority.
“2022 is going to be a big year and the advertising market will continue to function as the Hoover Dam spillway while consumers have jobs and are confident about the post-pandemic future. “
Pia coyle, Managing Partner of Avenue C, says the big numbers, with an SMI well above 2019 levels, have left many in the industry scratching their heads.
“It’s not just the big guys in the city spending huge volumes anymore, thanks to COVID, emerging categories like BNPL, food delivery services and SVOD platforms are now doubling their investments to capitalize on our ‘new normal’ and every day it seems like new brands in these categories are making themselves known.
“This, coupled with aggressive government spending, has forced other more traditional categories (insurance, finance and FMCG for example) to fight for stocks like never before.
“And what’s even more interesting is that huge categories like travel, automotive, entertainment and retail are only slowly returning to pre-COVID investment levels.
“Big things to come when we finally open up nationwide – it looks like the form of investing is forever changed, setting a new floor for the Australian advertising market.
Steve allen, Chief Strategy and Research Officer at Pearman: “The pace of the recovery, along with the SMI’s upward trajectory, sets the trend for a remarkable record year with the highest recovery growth on record.
“In our estimate for the end of the year, this also means that 2021 will be well above 2017/18/19,… double-digit growth.
“Even taking into account the roughly A $ 80 million (by our calculations) for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, 2021 is still an all-time record. It should be noted that while most media recover, we expect FTA Television and Digital to reach unprecedented heights.
“Digital, which is now well within the total market share of the 1960s and growing by around 25%, has a major influence on the total revenues of the media markets.
Steven king, Co-Manager, Frontier Australia: “August continues to be effective for the industry despite the New South Wales and Victorian lockdowns.
“What excites me the most is looking forward to the last quarter of the year, where we expect that upon exiting the lockdowns in our two largest states, there will be an increase in activity before Christmas.
“Television and digital have been the big winners so far this year, but the time is coming when radio and the outdoors will return to pre-pandemic levels and, dare I say it, maybe even the movie theater.”
Ashwin Govender, Director of Client Solutions, Half Dome: “It has been fantastic to see a continued increase in media spending across the industry.
“The Olympics were obviously a massive contributor and one of the things I was blown away with both at work and as a consumer was the 7 Plus app.
“The multitude of viewing options meant you could tap into niche sports to suit all interests. Not only does this provide a platform for under-represented sports, it also opens up an inventory for advertisers. It’s another growing bowstring from BVOD in Australia with Nine Now offering a similar proposition at the Australian Open. “
Tina Gavros, Managing Director of PMX – trading: “TV’s recovery from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 may be in part due to a successful Olympic Games period, as well as categories that have invested more heavily in the channel – which generally need to reach large audiences quickly, despite audience declines from year to year.
“Investments in digital increased compared to 2019, as advertisers entered the e-commerce sector and digital channel audiences were not as directly affected by the pandemic. “
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