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January 31, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 8:53am

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

By Charlotte Tobitt

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.

Scroll down for ad spend table

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.

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“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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