Early SMI - July ad spend continues slow climb out of COVID-19 hole

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 19 August 2020

Media agency bookings for July in Australia indicate an improving trend since the depth of the economic fallout from COVID-19, say industry insiders.

Subscriber-only confidential numbers from SMI (Standard Media Index) indicate July will be an improvement over June’s 35.7% fall and the record breaking 40.4% drop in May.

The early numbers, not yet finalised for the month, show agency bookings down about one-third in July but this number will improve with the inclusion of late digital bookings data.

Forward booking data indicates August will record a more modest fall again, continuing the trend of improvement.

And media agencies are reporting a more positive market, with consensus that the June quarter was the trough, the lowest point of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The big unknown now, as ad spend lifts from the bottom of the slump, is how long will the market to to regain the lost ground, especially from previous high ad spend categories such as travel and tourism. 

According to the early SMI numbers, metropolitan TV and regional media agency bookings were down about 22% in July.

Metropolitan radio was down one-third but regional radio only about 12%.

In industry categories, automotive was more than 50% down, domestic banks -- early big spenders during the cornvirus crisis -- about a quarter and food 30%.

The government was still buying ads, up 30%.


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