Early SMI: Total advertising market down 10.1% in August ex-digital

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 17 September 2019

Total advertising bookings, ex-digital, fell 10.1% in August compared to the same month last year, according to analysis by UBS of early SMI (Standard Media Index) numbers.

The SMI, based on media agency numbers, is an indicator of a market hit by a lack of business confidence, global political uncertainty and a tighter credit market post the financial services royal commission.

"We note late digital bookings are accounted for later in the month, which will improve the digital growth rate," UBS analysts Eric Choi, Tom Beadle and Minnie Tong write in a note to clients.

August metro TV bookings were down 6.6%, according to the early SMI numbers quoted by UBS. This was an improvement on the July, down 10.9%.

UBS says the key drivers of weakness within TV are Domestic Banks (down 30.3% or $3.4 million), Food/Produce/Dairy (-14.9% or  $3.1 million), Household supplies (-38.7% or $2.4 millioin), and Gambling (-19.8% or $2.4 million). 

Regional TV bookings were down by 2.5% in August, metro radio by 6.3%, regional radio by 17.9%, newspapers by 27.6%, and outdoor by 15.4%.

By advertisers, the weakest categories were retail (-21% or $11.3 million), Domestic Banks (-29% or $9.5 million) and Automotive brand (-13% or $8.8 million).

The strongest categories were Insurance, up 28% or $7 million, and Communications, 18% or $2.4 million higher.

The analysts say: "The media sector is driven by a combination of advertising, consumer spending and corporate spending, which are inherently difficult to predict." 

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