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Advertising spend on national and regional newsbrands to fall in 2019 despite growing digital income, report predicts

Advertising spend on national and regional newsbrands is set to fall this year – despite growing digital ad expenditure – while radio and internet ad revenues are set to increase, according to new forecasts.

Overall ad spend on national newsbrands is set to drop by 2.3 per cent in 2019, despite a predicted 8.1 per cent increase in digital ad spend. 

Similarly, regional newsbrands will see ad spend fall by 4.4 per cent, despite 9.3 per cent digital ad growth, it has been forecast.

In their quarterly expenditure report, Advertising Association and marketing agency WARC calculate that ad revenues for magazines are expected to fall by 6.2 per cent in 2019.

The report has predicted that spend on television advertising will rise by less than half a per cent this year (0.4 per cent) while advertisers are expected to spend an extra 4.8 per cent with radio stations.

Internet ad spend – which includes video-on-demand, newsbrand and magazine digital revenues, radio station website and mobile advertising spend – is forecast to enjoy growth of 9.8 per cent this year.

Total UK advertising spend is expected to grow by 4.6 per cent in 2019 – a slight fall from an estimated 6 per cent growth last year.

Total UK ad spend in 2017, the latest full-year figure, was £22.1bn, which included:

  • Internet ad spend was more than £11.5bn (of which £5.2bn mobile)
  • National newsbrands £1bn (of which £275m digital)
  • Regional newsbrands £887m (of which £212m digital)
  • Magazines £776m (of which £271m digital)
  • Radio £679m (of which £35m digital)

AA chief executive Stephen Woodford said: “UK advertising continues to perform strongly, now delivering its 21st straight quarter of growth and demonstrating the commitment of British advertisers to investing in the growth and success of their businesses

“As the clock ticks down to our departure from the EU, it is crucial the government provides the certainty we are all seeking in business.

“We are predicting continued ad spend growth of 4.6 per cent in 2019 and an agreement with the EU that keeps disruption at a minimum and keeps trade and talent flowing will greatly help this growth.

“UK advertising is the best in the world and we need a deal that ensures we keep it that way.”

WARC data editor James McDonald said: “Our projection of 4.6 per cent growth in the UK’s ad market this year is firmly based on a business favourable outcome from the EU withdrawal agreement, and would mark a decade of continuous expansion since the last advertising recession.

“Further, a preliminary estimate of 6 per cent growth in advertising investment last year represents a faster rate of expansion than was recorded in 2017, and is therefore indicative of an industry in rude health.

“This is particularly true in relation to digital ad formats, all of which are currently forecast to attract higher levels of investment in 2019.”

The AA/Warc report revealed that advertising spend on national, regional and magazine brands fell in the third quarter of 2018.

Spending on ads with national and regional newsbrands fell by 7.1 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively, while magazine ad revenue fell by 2.8 per cent.

Digital ad spend on national newsbrands was up by 3.7 per cent, while regional newsbrands saw a 10.9 per cent climb for digital.

Radio advertising income rose by 5 per cent year-on-year as internet advertising spend grew by 12.3 per cent.

Picture: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

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