Advertising spend on national newsbrands forecast to plunge by 10 per cent next year as UK market breaks £20bn

Advertising spend on national newsbrands is forecast to fall by almost 10 per cent in 2019, according to a report by advertising firm Group M.

The report forecasts that overall UK ad spend on national brands, across print and online, has slumped by 4 per cent on last year to an expected £843m this year – down from £877m in 2017.

Ad spend for national newsbrands is expected to drop by 9.4 per cent to £764m by the end of 2019, the figures show.

The report goes on to predict that the slice of British ad money going to regional newsbrands will fall to £660m next year, down 8.8 per cent from an expected £723m take home this year.

Consumer magazines are also expected to take a 7.5 per cent knock to UK ad spending receipts this year and a 5.6 per cent hit in 2019.

However, overall UK ad spend is predicted to break the £20bn mark for the first time next year, with growth of about £1bn on £19.9bn total ad spend this year.

Digital ad spend with internet “pure-players” like Facebook, Google and Amazon accounts for around 60 per cent of all UK advertising investment and all net growth in ad spending, according to Group M.

Speaking about the results, Group M futures director Adam Smith said: “Future Brexit fall-out remains a complete unknown, but for now the economy is doing OK.

“Ad revenue forecasts remain perhaps surprisingly positive, supported by digital commanding a rising share of overall marketing effort from a wider base of marketers large and small.”

The report said that, despite a slump in ad spend, 2018 had been an “encouraging year for print” for national newsbrands, marked by “renewed advertiser enthusiasm” for the format.

Four national news publishers have now teamed up to create the Ozone Project, a jointly-owned advertising platform giving advertisers access to participating publishers – and therefore more than 42.5m British consumers – through one specialised sales team.

The report said: “There has been a rare outbreak of truly effective collaboration. Ozone (Sun, Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian) offers quality content and data at scale in a way which is anathema to a walled garden, and has captured advertisers’ imagination.”

But the report forecast that spending on national print display and classified ads would fall by 19 and 11 per cent respectively, but predicted a 10 per cent rise in digital ad spend for national news firms.

Group M UK chief executive Tom George said: “Collaboration and measurement remain key topics for the UK alongside Brexit and GDPR in our advertising forecast for 2019, but in a sea of change, advertising investment stays buoyant reaching unprecedented levels.”

Regional newsbrands were forecast to lose UK ad revenue across all three ad types – display, classified and digital – thanks in part to a “migration from regional editorial content to Facebook”.

A predicted increase in digital ad cash flowing into consumer and B2B magazines is expected to be hamstrung by a 14 per cent drop in print ads for consumer magazines and an 18 per cent drop in ad spend on B2B print titles.

Broadcasters can expect good times ahead, with Group M estimating that UK ad spend on radio and television revenues will go up by 7 and 1 per cent respectively next year.

Radio spot ad spend is set to climb 10 per cent this year compared to 2017.

Only social media platforms and radio spots are set to see their share of the ad market grow in the New Year.

Picture: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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