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AA/Warc: 2019 projection upgraded following online growth

29 Oct 2019  |  Michaela Jefferson 
AA/Warc: 2019 projection upgraded following online growth

After recording "stellar" growth across online formats, full year adspend growth figures for 2019 have been upgraded 0.4 percentage points to 5%, reaching £24.7bn in total.

UK ad expenditure is then expected to grow a further 5.3% in 2020, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report for the second quarter of the year.

“An upgrade to our 2019 projection of almost half a point is reflective of stellar online growth, as well as over-performance for a number of traditional channels against the expectations we laid out in July," said James McDonald, managing editor at WARC.

"There is little in the data we receive from media owners across the industry to suggest an impending downturn, but growth cannot be taken for granted while economic prosperity remains in the balance.”

Q2 saw ad expenditure climb 5.8% year-on-year (YoY) to a record £6bn, and 5.2% for the first six months of the year. The quarter saw notable YoY rises in spend on digital radio (+15.9%), digital out of home (+17.2%) and TV VOD (20%).

Online national newsbrands also recorded an impressive 15.6% increase - +12.2pp higher than previously forecast - though national newsbrands overall only grew 0.3%. Meanwhile, magazine brands continued to see adspend tumble, down -2.6% digitally and -6.2% overall.

However, it was spend on cinema which most defied expectations, climbing 49.6% YoY - +44.5pp ahead of forecast.

Looking ahead, digital formats are expected to continue growing through to the end of the year. TV VOD is to rise 18.7% YoY in 2019 (though TV as a whole is expected to fall -0.9%), followed by 15% in 2020.

The report also forecasts a 13.3% growth for DOOH and 20.4% growth for digital radio, as well as a 5% rise for online national newsbrands.

Elsewhere, cinema's expected to see its ad investment grow 16.4% in 2019 - though forecasts for 2020 expect a -3.2% drop to follow.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, commented: “These very encouraging adspend figures for Q2 2019 cover the period immediately following the original Brexit date of March 29, demonstrating the continued strength of UK advertising during a time of political uncertainty. Advertising’s dynamism is shown by the growth recorded across many different formats, with particularly impressive performances from cinema, TV VOD and online radio.

“These figures are positive for our industry and are good indicators of the resilience of the UK economy. However, with another scheduled Brexit departure date looking likely to be passed on 31 October, we are acutely conscious of industry’s desire for the clarity and needed to continue investing for the future during these uncertain times.”

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22 May 2020 

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