TV ad bookings decline as regional affiliations switch over

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 15 August 2016

A switch in regional TV affiliations has coincided with significant drops in metropolitan and regional media agency bookings revenue, July's Standard Media Index figures show.

Overall, media agency bookings dropped 2.7% to $538 million but should end up about flat once late digital bookings are added.

Free-to-air TV endured a torrid time when compared to last year. Overall, metro bookings declined by 4.9% and regional TV bookings dropped by 6.1%, of which the regional component is partly explained by the changeover, SMI Australia/New Zealand managing director Jane Schulze says.

Nine recorded a 10.8% YOY drop in bookings revenue, largely due to last year's bookings spike from the Ashes, as it began a new regional affiliation partnership with SCA.

Rival Seven recorded a revenue decline of 5%, while Ten bucked the trend with sales growth of 2.9%. Ten and WIN also began their new regional affiliation agreement that month.

Ten, Seven grow market share

Ten's share of the metropolitan ad market increased to 25.8% from 24% in July 2015, while Seven also increased to 38.1% from 37.7%. Both took market share away from Nine, which ended on 36.1%, down from the market leading 38.4% in July 2015.

Network Ten’s director of revenue and client partnerships Rod Prosser says it is the 17th month in a row Ten has increased its metro audience share.

“Ten Entertainment Network is the only primary channel that has increased its prime time audience this year. It also reflects the success of our partnership with Multi Channel Network over the past year,” Prosser adds.

It wasn't all bad news for TV; subscription TV agency bookings increased 8.1%, which meant the TV sector bookings decline was only 2.7%.

In other media categories, outdoor shone with an increase of 21%, while there were drops for radio (down 4.2%), newspapers (down 14.6%), magazines (down 23.8%), cinema (down 21%) and digital (currently down 1.6%).

Magazine digital spend added

The SMI worked with industry group Magazines Networks to add back digital ad spend to magazines for the first time in July. The effect of this increased the size of the magazine sector bookings by 18% to $13.6 million.

"All major Magazine publishers are now selling their own digital advertising inventory and as such SMI has the first like-for-like Digital ad spend figures which can be reliably published. We’ve previously done this work with NewsMediaWorks for the news media industry and we’re now thrilled to be able to provide an improved view of the total Magazine sector on an ongoing basis," Schulze said.

"And the data proves magazines to have the second highest proportion of digital ad spend relative to an industry total, with that title easily held by the newspaper market (its Digital revenues represent more than 35% of its agency spend and 20% of its agency-plus-direct ad spend, according to the News Media Index)."

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