TV, OOH, radio associations tout strong ad and audience finishes in 2021

ThinkTV, Commercial Radio Australia and Outdoor Media Association report full-year 2021 results

Media associations across TV, out-of-home and radio are touting strong finishes to their end-of-year results, reflecting the recovery and buoyancy of Australia’s advertising market.

ThinkTV, which represents all of Australia’s commercial TV networks except for SBS, reported total TV revenue was up 19.9 per cent for the 12 months to December 2021, reaching $4.1 billion. The figures include metro and regional free-to-air, subscription TV and broadcaster video on-demand (BVOD).

BVOD’s slice continued to increase, growing by 68 per cent to hit $362.7 million over the 12-month period. Metro FTA was also up 18.5 per cent to $2.77m, regional FTA by 11.8 per cent to $663.64m and national up 12.6 per cent to $337.57m in 2021.

Across the second half of the calendar year, TV advertising revenue reached $2.2bn, an increase of 14.4 per cent year-on-year. This was again led by metro FTA growth of 13 per cent to $1.5bn for the six months, while BVOD revenue was up 63.4 per cent to $218 million for the six months to December 30, 2021.

“The impressive growth in the past 12 months is evidence that advertisers looking to build and grow their brands understand Total TV needs to be the cornerstone of their media plans,” ThinkTV CEO, Kim Portrate, commented. The figures also demonstrated how strong BVOD was in the mix, she said.

“BVOD audiences and revenue continue to increase exponentially, testament to the power of the offering. Once considered a smaller sibling of linear TV, BVOD has truly come into its own,” Portrate added.

Out-of-home recovery

Despite the significant disruptions of Covid lockdowns and state-by-state rules, the out-of-home (OOH) industry has also touted strong results in its 2021 sum-up. The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) last week reported an increase of 24 per cent on net media revenue for 2021 to $812.7 million, up from $655.2 million in 2020.

Of particular note was the Q4 2021 result, which was up 13.3 per cent on net media revenue year-on-year to $247.6 million.

Within overall figures, digital OOH (DOOH) revenue accounted for 58.8 per cent of total net media revenue year-to-date, up from 55.2 per cent for the same period in 2020. However, net revenue year-to-date continues to trail pre-pandemic results and was down 17.3 per cent on $982.3 million reported in 2019. The 2020 figures reflect OMA’s updated membership.

“We began the year cautiously optimistic for industry recovery, and while the second wave of lockdowns mid-May stymied momentum, revenue consistently tracked above 2020 levels,” OMA CEO, Charmaine Moldrich, commented. “What’s more, December’s results mark the first month since revenue has risen beyond pre-pandemic levels, up seven per cent from December 2019.”

The OMA pointed out Zenith figures for Australian advertising spend predict growth of 5 per cent in 2022, off the back of 18 per cent growth in 2021. ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence, also quoted by the association, show a small drop in spend the first week of January, down 2.4 points to 106.0.

Yet Moldrich said confidence in future financial conditions remained unchanged, with 38 per cent of Australians expect they will be ‘better off’ financially this time next year. It’s a sign people are still optimistic about the future, she said.

“This sets us up for another bounce back when the situation stabilises further,” Moldrich added.

The ThinkTV and OMA figures come a week after SMI reported Australia’s media agency spend hit a record $8.6 billion in 2021, with strong December advertising levels ensuring the sector continued to buck concerns around Covid-19 conditions.

According to the latest Standard Media Index (SMI) figures, ad spending across the 2021 calendar year reached $8.6 billion, buoyed by consecutive year-on-year growth for each month of last year. This was also $323.5 million higher than the previous record reported by SMI in 2018, $550.5 million higher than 2020, and $1.6 billion higher than 2020.

Related: Out-of-home industry adopts MOVE 1.5, neuroscience and new share reporting

Radio audiences

Also touting its success in 2021 last week, this time from an audience perspective, was Commercial Radio Australia. The group claimed weekly audiences were up by 1.3 per cent to a record 11.2 million across Australia’s five metropolitan capitals last year, based on an average of eight official GfK radio surveys conducted in 2021.

Nearly 140,000 extra listeners tuned into radio in 2021 across multiple platforms, with an average of 6.5 million Australians listening at home on a weekly basis. This share of listening at home increased to 50 per cent last year, up 9 per cent from 2019.

Commercial radio was estimated to have reached 76.3 per cent of all Australians aged 10+ in the five major metro markets. Morning and afternoons also recorded growth during the year, according to the CRA. Morning audiences picked up 54,000 more listeners to 6.3 million people listening and afternoons increased by 80,000 listeners to nearly 7 million listeners each week, overtaking drive on 6.7 million.

Overall, audiences spent a total of 12 hours and 53 minutes listening to commercial radio each week.

“Radio continued to be a mainstay for news and entertainment throughout 2021, with trends that commenced during 2020 continuing, including more Australians tuning in from home and growth in the number of listeners during the morning and afternoon periods,” CRA CEO, Joan Warner, said. “The summary once again highlights that radio is an effective channel to reach Australians, with its high levels of engagement and influence providing a strong call-to-action medium for advertisers.”

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