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Ad market ends on a sluggish note in 2014 despite hopeful first half

February 19th 2015

Standard Media Index recently released its full year ad market figures and the results confirm what advertisers, agencies and media owners have been feeling for some time now.

The euphoria, and big dollars, generated by the Winter Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup earlier in the year, quickly dried up as consumer confidence fizzled. Then there was the economy stuck in neutral for most of 2014, which delivered a somber second half to the year and turned out sluggish ad revenue numbers across almost every media sector.

In fact, the total market would have attracted less overall dollars in 2013 without the sizable numbers delivered by the two major sporting events of the year.

So what are the actual numbers? Here’s a rundown on how the market fared in the 2014, straight from the booking systems of the world’s largest agency groups.

SMI saw television continue to feature prominently in the media strategies of the major agencies, commanding 58% of all advertising dollars. Broadcast spend grew 4% from 2013 and cable increased 5%. The bulk of the growth occurred during the first few months of 2014 before television spending retreated in the second half of the year. We saw advertisers tread cautiously when it came to upfront investment, waiting to see how consumer confidence netted out in the latter part of the year in order to leverage better deals in the scatter market. The knock-on effect of this approach pushed upfront dollars down 8% in Q4 and saw the scatter market do its best to make up the difference surging along with a considerable 29% increase.

Digital, unsurprisingly, was the big winner in 2014. Agency spend in the medium grew to 26%, a share increase of 3% on 2013.

The biggest increase in digital came in the area of programmatic which grew 71% for the year. In 2014, SMI saw many of the major network groups grow their revenue by more than three times over 2013 in a sign of strength for the sector.Mobile was another big area of growth at 28%. While digital is continuing to grow share, the traditional television networks are increasingly tapping into new audiences.

Perhaps less surprising was that, while television and digital all had their moments in the sun, the magazine industry struggled again in 2014 with a loss of 7% year-on-year. Advertising in the radio industry dropped 3% and out of home was in the red by low double digits. To round out 2014, there was a glimmer of hope for the newspaper industry which recovered slightly from their consistently poor results with a 2% increase for the year.

This blog will be bringing you more data and analysis on market trends in the year ahead.

SMI Team

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