SMI: September lockdowns take toll on outdoor ad spend

Double-digit growth continues for TV and digital as both channels dominate September advertising spend

The latest SMI advertising figures for September are in and show the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns across Sydney and Melbourne taking their toll on outdoor spend even as TV bucked up.

According to Standard Media Index (SMI), Australian advertising again recorded double-digit revenue growth in September, rising 15.5 per cent year-on-year. Of this, 94 per cent of returning ad spend was allocated to TV and digital channels.

TV was a strong performer, buoyed by the return of the AFL and NRL final series in their September timeframe. In all, total bookings were up 17.1 per cent year-on-year. Digital advertising was also up 20.1 per cent year-on-year, propelled by strong growth in search and social channels.

By contrast, lockdowns took their toll on outdoor as audiences reduced movement. Outdoor spend rose by just 3.8 per cent in September compared to the year prior. It’s the first month in five months that outdoor has not experienced double-digit gains.

“The Australian market has delivered another month of much improved advertising demand, but the month has been unusual given the very strong focus on the TV and Digital media,” SMI A/NZ managing director, Jane Ractliffe, said. “Radio, magazines and cinema media also all delivered double-digit growth in agency ad spend in September but the sheer size of the growth evident in TV and Digital – those two media accounted for 81.6 per cent of all ad spend – necessarily reduced the share this month of all other media.”

As a result, total market ad spend in September was down 9.3 per cent from the heights of September 2019. However, Ractliffe said if bookings to the lockdown-affected media of outdoor and cinema are removed, total ad spend is 0.6 per cent above that achieved two years ago.

“Now that the lockdowns are over and life in Melbourne and Sydney is finally returning to normal, we fully expect the outdoor and cinema media to quickly return to very strong levels of double-digit growth and create renewed competition for both the Television and Digital media when targeting large audiences,” Ractliffe said.

As has been evident for much of 2021, Ractliffe said SMI’s data continues to highlight the incredible recovery in the local ad market, with September quarter bookings up 29.4 per cent above the same quarter last year, and 4.6 per cent above the same quarter in September 2019. SMI noted bookings moved back through the $2 billion mark for the first time since the September 2018 quarter.

Across the calendar year-to-date period, total ad spend has grown 27 per cent to $5.9 billion, 0.4 per cent above the total recorded in the same period pre-Covid in 2019.

The September figures come off months of consecutive, stellar growth across Australia’s advertising bookings. In August, SMI reported ad spend for the first eight months of 2021 were up 1.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, and just $40m off the highest-recorded result for the period in 2018.

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here.  

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page


Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts



CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...


The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Great Sharing thoughts.It is really helps to define marketing strategies. After all good digital marketing plan leads to brand awareness...

Paul F

Driving digital marketing effectiveness

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in