Print ad revenue falling faster among regional newsbrands than nationals but digital gains are larger

Regional newsbrands are seeing a faster drop in print ad revenue than nationals but are gaining a bigger proportion back online, according to a new report on UK ad expenditure.

Ad spend on digital regional newsbrands grew by 14 per cent year-on-year across the first half of the year to a total of £112.7m.

As a result of this growth, total digital regional newsbrand ad spend is projected to grow by 11.4 per cent year-on-year for the whole of 2018. Last year it grew 9.9 per cent to a total of £212m.

Ad spend on regional newsbrands in print dropped by 15.8 per cent over the first half of the year to £290.8m – still nearly four times digital ad spend.

Regional newsbrands across both print and digital have a total projected annual fall of 8 per cent for 2018.

Ad spend on digital national newsbrands grew by 3.2 per cent in the first half of the year, but national newspaper print ad revenue fell 6.6 per cent to £348.8m over the same period.

Total national newsbrands ad spend was £223.5m for the first half of 2018, down 7.4 per cent. For regional newsbrands the total ad spend was £403.3m over the same period, down 9.3 per cent.

The figures were published today in the Advertising Association and ad intelligence agency WARC’s expenditure report.

The report found that total UK ad spend grew 6.4 per cent year-on-year to reach £5.6bn in the second quarter of 2018.

The market saw an overall ad spend rise of 7.2 per cent during the first half of the year, resulting in the strongest second quarter and first half results since 2014.

The growth is being driven by the continued increased spending on internet advertising, including online revenues for newsbrands, magazine brands, broadcaster video-on-demand and radio station websites.

As a result the AA and WARC have increased their full-year projection to 13.3 per cent growth in online ad spend, meaning more than £13bn spent on online advertising in the UK in 2018.

James McDonald, data editor at WARC, said: “Growth in online advertising spend continues to exceed our expectations, resulting in the fifth upgrade to our forecasts in as many quarters.

“Barring any major shock to the system, this trend should continue to play out over the years ahead, lifting total market value in tow.”

AA chief executive Stephen Woodford said despite the figures showing “real strength and resilience” in ad spend this year, there is still uncertainty ahead of the UK leaving the EU in March next year.

He said: “While we welcome these figures, we are also conscious that our upgraded predictions for 2018 and 2019 depend on getting the right deal from Brexit negotiations and clarity on what the future will look like.

“We must also ensure that the unique features that have made the UK the global hub for our industry, such as access to the best and brightest creative talent from across the world, are prioritised as we leave the EU.”

Nick Field, director of the media and technology team at mergers and acquisitions firm Livingstone, suggested newsbrands and magazines had benefited from a “flight to quality” that slowed the decline in ad spend.

Advertising Association/WARC ad spend figures second quarter/first half-year 2018 vs same period in 2017:

  Q2 2018 v Q2 2017 H1 2018 v H1 2017
% change % change
Internet (inc digital revenues & broadcaster VoD) 14.5% 14.8%
of which mobile 29.2% 30.4%
TV 1.9% 3.5%
of which VoD 9.4% 10.8%
Direct mail -4.1% -5.0%
Out of home 1.5% 3.3%
National newsbrands -7.4% -4.2%
of which digital 3.6% 3.2%
Regional newsbrands -9.6% -9.3%
of which digital 9.7% 14.0%
Magazine brands -9.0% -8.7%
of which digital 6.2% 1.1%
Radio 1.9% 7.1%
of which digital 20.4% 29.2%
Cinema -2.4% -7.8%
TOTAL UK AD SPEND 6.4% 7.2%

Picture: Reuters/Russell Boyce

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