Tajer: SMI figures show positive signs for local market

By By David Blight | 16 October 2012
Mediabrands executive chairman, Henry Tajer.

After GroupM chairman and chief executive John Steedman argued current Standard Media Index (SMI) figures are a bleak omen of things to come, Mediabrands executive chairman Henry Tajer has countered that the numbers are more positive than expected.

SMI numbers for quarter three showed that agency bookings dropped 4.3%, while September figures fell 0.3%.

Steedman argued this morning that the market performed poorly in the third quarter and insisted it would not get any better in quarter four.

However, Tajer provided a starkly different point of view. He conceded that the months of July and August were poor months, but went on to say that September was stronger than expected, and that the fourth quarter should be “more positive than negative”.

“The SMI numbers for September pointed to much better numbers than expected, and when the digital figures are recalibrated I think you might find the month will go into positive territory,” Tajer said.

“There were some stand out results, particularly in television, as well as for a couple of outliers like cinema and outdoor. I thought the third quarter would be very challenging, but September has proved to be much better than we thought.

“I actually feel more positive than negative about the next few months. I'm seeing renewed energy in the market. But what level will this reach? That's anyone's guess.

“It's easier to be a naysayer than a yaysayer. In most cycle changes in the last five years, the change happens in a month, the market goes from hot to cold or cold to hot in just one month, and we could easily see a turnaround.”

In September, SMI figures showed newspapers fell 15%, magazines declined 12.5% and radio dropped 11.7%.

Television increased 0.6%, outdoor jumped 10.4%, and digital surged 21.7%.

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