SMI: Australia's media agency market fell 7.6% in April

By Chris Pash | 3 June 2019

The final numbers from the SMI index show Australia's media agency market falling 7.6% in April with underlying advertising spend at $522 million. 

This is an improvement on widely reported preliminary numbers showed the index down 18.1% for the month compared to a record April in 2018.

However, April was still the seventh month in a row the media agency market has reported lower bookings. 

A high level of business caution impacted April’s results ahead of the Federal Election with more than a third of all SMI product categories reporting lower demand, led by banks which reduced ad spend by 35.5% following the Financial Services Royal Commission. 

The largest gains were in newspapers and radio, reporting year-on-year growth in April.

Television was down 10.3%, digital 6.8% and magazines 24.9%. 

The April SMI results: 

SMI april 2019


SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Ractliffe says April 2018, buoyed by the Commonwealth Games and no easter public holdiays, was a high ad spend month. Compared to the pregvious year, 2017, the value of total April 2019 advertising bookings was 2% higher.

She says the extent of lower business confidence in the market in April was highlighted by the fact the two largest categories of Retail and Automotive Brand were reporting large April declines.

Retail ad spend was down 7.1%, with the largest decline seen in the Digital media. Auto Brand bookings fell 21% with those lower bookings impacting all major media.

April’s lower result has also impacted SMI’s calendar year-to-date results, with that total back 4.3% but with growth in Radio (+0.3%), Digital (+0.1%) and Subscription TV Direct (+11.8%).

And over the longer financial year-to-date period the market is down 1.6% with -outdoor media delivering the best results (+5.0%), Digital up 2.4% and Radio bookings up 2.3%.

SMI has been separately tracking advertising spending of all major Political Parties, Unions and Industry Associations/lobby groups since mid last year.

Spending by category has changed, with Television losing share to Radio (actual category ad spend grew 16.9%), Digital (category ad spend up 9.8%) and Press (Category ad spend up 79%).

Advertisers included in this data include the state and federal offices of the Liberal and Labor Parties, the Greens, the Nationals, Centre Alliance and various Union campaigns.

It does not include ad spend for Clive Palmer’s UAP in either period because that party has purchased advertising directly from media groups.

The numbers for political ad spend (with May still to come):

smi political apr 2019

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus