UBS: Easter and ANZAC Day depress April ad bookings

By Chris Pash | 16 May 2019

UBS, in an analysis of preliminary SMI numbers, says Easter and ANZAC Day holidays depressed media agency ad bookings in Australia for April.

The overall drop was more than 18% in April compared to the same month last year.

The investment bank says metro TV was down 11% year on year.

However, the UBS analysts say SMI could be understating TV numbers given that they don't capture any uplift in federal government spend and direct spend such as that by Clive Palmer's UAP which is reported to be as much as $60 million since September.

The SMI does capture political parties and union spend through agencies, which grew about 700% in April with the lion's share flowing to TV. 

In March, the media agency market reported its sixth consecutive month of lower demand with total bookings dropping 4.7% to $583.6 million from last year’s record high. It was the hardest March quarter fall in a decade.

The preliminary numbers for April, as reported by UBS, show overall ad bookings were down 18.1%.

Regional TV bookings were down 8.8% yoy, metro radio was up 8.1%, regional radio down 0.9%, newspapers dropped 16.5%, outdoor down  17.8%, and digital down slipped 37.0% but with late digital bookings to come.

"We expect the digital growth rate to improve significantly once late bookings are accounted for," analysts Eric Choi, Tom Beadle and Minnie Tong write in a notge to clients.

At an industry level, domestic bank ad spend was down 47% and auto brands 27%.

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