Advertising report finds national press is worst-performing ad sector with spend down 6.8 per cent

Total advertising spend on "national newsbrands" fell by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, making it the worst performing market in a new report.

Despite overall UK advertising spend growing by 8.2 per cent to £4.7bn in the quarter, regional newsbrands also suffered, with a 2.3 per cent year-on-year slump to £295m for the period.

The majority of other sectors included in the report – including television, radio and the internet – saw their adspends increase in the period.

Daily Mail and General Trust and Johnston Press have both recently highlighted "difficult" advertising conditions in the UK when presenting financial results.

But Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, predicted on Friday that his company would return to advertising growth for the first time in a decade this year.

Nationals

According to the Warc/Advertising Association report, the nationals' overall 6.8 per cent decline – to £311m in the first quarter – came despite a 7.4 per cent rise in their digital advertising to £50m.

In 2014, according to the report, total adspend on national newsbrands was £1.37bn. This figure was down 4.7 per cent on 2013.

The report forecasts that the figure will fall by 4.3 per cent in 2015 and then 1.9 per cent in 2016. 

Digital national advertising made up £214m of the £1.37bn figure in 2014, representing a rise of 16.4 per cent on 2013.

The report predicts that digital adspend for the nationals will increase by 11.9 per cent in 2015 and 11.6 per cent in 2016.

Regionals

Regional newsbrands saw a 17.6 per cent boost – to £46m – in digital advertising in the first quarter of 2015, but print was down 5.2 per cent to £250m.

Adspending on regional newsbrands was £1.25bn in 2014, according to the report – down 3.6 per cent on 2013.

It predicts that this figure will fall by 3 per cent this year and 2.2 per cent in 2016.

Some £174m of the £1.25bn regional adspend was on digital, up 24.7 per cent on 2013.

This figure is predicted to grow by 16.8 per cent this year and 15.4 per cent in 2016.

Magazines

Magazine brands saw adspend fall by 3.9 per cent to £216m in the first quarter of 2015, with an 8.6 per cent dip in print to £157m and an 11.5 per cent increase in digital to £59m.

Total adspend on magazines was £993m last year, down 4.3 per cent, according to the report.

This figure is expected to fall by 3.3 per cent this year and then 1.7 per cent next year.

Of the £993m, £267m was last year spent on digital magazine adspend, up 5.9 per cent.

This is forecast to increase by 8 per cent in 2015 and 7.4 per cent in 2016.

Others

Elsewhere, television advertising recorded its highest-ever quarter, with spending up 11.5 per cent to £1.22bn. The 2014 total was £4.91bn, up 5.8 per cent on 2013, and is predicted to increase by 6.9 per cent this year and then 4.9 per cent next year.

Radio adspend in the first quarter of 2015 rose 8.2 per cent to £122m. Its 2014 total was £575m, up 7.2 per cent, and it is predicted to increase by 4.3 per cent this year and then 4.8 per cent in 2016.

Internet adspend, which includes mobile, was up 12.8 per cent to £1.9bn in the first quarter. Its 2014 total was £7.19bn, up 15 per cent on 2013. And it is forecast to increase by 12.6 per cent this year and 11.3 per cent in 2016.

Click here to read an executive summary of the report.

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