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Yearly ad spend decline on national newsbrands set to continue despite quarterly growth

Advertising spend with national newspapers will continue to fall year-on-year in 2020 despite quarterly growth, according to new estimates.

National newsbrands took £1bn of advertising revenue in 2018, the most recent full-year figures, down 2.7 per cent on the year before. Online ad spend accounted for £318m of the total expenditure.

The latest report from the Advertising Association and ad intelligence agency WARC reveals ad spend on nationals is estimated to fall a further 2.5 per cent in 2019 and forecasts a drop of 3.3 per cent for 2020.

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This was despite a rise in advertising revenue at national newsbrands over two consecutive quarters in 2019 following a challenging start to the year when expenditure fell by 9.1 per cent in the first quarter.

Online ad revenues are forecast to grow by 5.1 per cent for 2019 and a further 5.2 per cent in 2020.

“Advertisers are increasingly recognising the importance of context and quality journalism once more, said Tracy de Groose, executive chairman of newspaper marketing body Newsworks.

“I believe we now have a real opportunity to close this incongruous gap that exists between audience and advertising growth.

“Despite a tough start to 2019 I am delighted we delivered two consecutive periods of growth, and on certain numbers we outperformed the forecasts.

“However, these numbers still don’t reflect the record readership numbers we are seeing – 26m daily – as more and more people demand reliable and trusted sources of news, analysis and insight.”

Ad spend on regional newspapers reached £804m in 2018, down 9.3 per cent on the year before, of which £228m was online. It is expected to fall by 10.3 per cent for 2019 and is forecast to fall by a further 5.4 per cent in 2020.

Online ad spend on regionals is set to grow by 4.9 per cent, however.

Magazine brands topped £718m in 2018, down 7.5 per cent on the year before, of which £270m was online. It is estimated to drop by 7.6 per cent in 2019 and predicted to fall by a further 3.9 per cent this year.

Again, online ad spend for magazines is set to rise, by 3.7 per cent.

Adspend 2018 (£m) 2018 v 2017 (% change) Estimate 2019 year-on-year % change Forecast 2020 year-on-year % change
Search 6,656 14.3 12.1 10.1
Online display (inc newsbrand digital & broadcaster VoD) 5,332 21.4 12.6 10.8
TV 5,111 0.1 -0.5 1.7
of which VoD 391 29.4 19.1 14.5
Direct mail 1,552 -8.7 -9.2 -5.2
Online classified 1,451 -1.3 1.8 2.3
Out of home 1,209 5.7 7.9 4.9
of which digital 603 14.7 14 10.2
National newsbrands 1,015 -2.7 -2.5 -3.3
of which online 318 13 5.1 5.2
Regional newsbrands 804 -9.3 -10.3 -5.4
of which online 228 7.6 4.6 4.9
Magazine brands 718 -7.5 -7.6 -3.9
of which online 270 -0.3 -1.4 3.7
Radio 714 5.1 0.6 3.1
of which online 45 30.6 14.7 22.5
Cinema 254 -2.1 24.6 -6.3
TOTAL UK AD SPEND 23,563 6.2 5.2 5.2

Picture: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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