June ad spend smashes records of a decade

SMI data shows a sustainable advertising industry recovery as current demand lines up with pre-Covid demand

June has delivered the biggest month in ad spend for any month since Standard Media Index’s collection of ad payment data began in 2009, pointing to a sustainable recovery for advertising.

Australia's total advertising spend in June reached $754 million, up 44 per cent on June 2020, showing digital media also smashing records and all major media benefiting. 

“Who would have even thought this could be possible a year ago,” said SMI A/NZ managing director, Jane Ractliffe. She contrasted this spend to last June, when the market “simply crashed as the full brunt of the Covid crisis was felt”. 

“It’s quite phenomenal that a year later we can see total bookings for the quarter are just $9 million or -0.4 per cent below the last ‘normal’ pre-Covid equivalent quarter to June 2019.” 

SMI reported the June result was the third consecutive month that ad spend had recorded year-on-year growth of more than 40 per cent, with quarterly bookings up by 53 per cent on the same quarter in 2020. 

July demand for ads is in strong positive territory, driven largely by Tokyo 2020 Olympics broadcasting. SMI’s forward data underlines continuing strong demand with contracted August ad spend already at 83 per cent of last year’s total, and September bookings now at 38 per cent of last year’s total. 

For the first half of the calendar year, Australian national ad spend grew 25 per cent above the same six months in 2020. TV bookings also up by 25 per cent were in line, outdoor spend was up by 22 per cent and radio up by 20 per cent. This lifted full financial year results to be 7 per cent - or $500 million - more than the previous year. 

Credit: Standard Media Index

“It’s obviously been an incredibly challenging financial year for all media, with SMI showing the total market back by 6.4 per cent July to December but then the market switched into recovery mode as demand soared and the value of bookings jumped 25 per cent,” Ractliffe said. 

She said the data highlighted the size of the swing back to growth as ad spend plunged more than $250 million in the first half of the financial year but then leaped by more than $750 million in the second six months. 

Current advertising demand for the last three quarters is virtually in line with the pre-Covid 2018-2019 period. 

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