Radio ad spend fell over 30% in August

Former Editor & Content Director

Radio ad spend was back 32.8% in August compared to the same period in 2019.

The decline was nowhere near as stark as that experienced by cinema, which declined by 85.4% largely due to COVID-19 shutdowns and social distancing measures, and magazines, which were back 52.3% for the month. Outdoor was also adversely affected throughout August, with bookings via the media agency groups back 48.0%. Newspaper ads were down by 38.0%.

Faring better than radio throughout August was television, back just 11.0%, according to SMI, and digital, back 4.7%.

Overall, the Standard Media Index (SMI) figures indicated Australia’s ad market decline has slowed down.

The ad market was down 43.5% in May, 35.2% in June, and 30.2% in July. In August, the decline was 17.2%.

Managing director of SMI AU/NZ, Jane Ractliffe, said the Australian figures are in line with global trends.

“The great news is that in all sophisticated media markets, the level of decline in ad spend has now fallen below 20%, while in the US advertisers have quickly returned to TV with most of the extra advertising spend flowing to news and the revived sports programs,” she said.

Ractliffe credited the retail sector with helping to drive Australia’s ad market recovery, particularly supermarkets, chemists and online retailers. Across the month of August, retail ad spend was up 20%.

“Demand is clearly picking up quickly as this month we’ve also seen strong double-digit growth in ad spend for household cleaning products, technology businesses (both for hardware and software products and services) and smaller categories such as oral and haircare,” she said.

“Of course the COVID-affected categories such as travel, live entertainment and movies/cinema/theme parks are still reporting devastating declines in ad spend, but outside of those areas the higher demand from other categories is beginning to move the market to a far more stable position.”

Radio ad spend, according to SMI, was back 29.0% in July, 42.6% in June, 55.8% in May, 45.0% in April, and 12.6% in March.

Recently, Commercial Radio Australia’s (CRA) CEO Joan Warner noted that throughout the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, radio listening and engagement has gone up, so it’s been “frustrating” to see radio ad spend plummet.

“We’ve still got millions of people [listening], now come on, put your money where your mouth is and give some to radio,” she implored marketers.

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