Total ad revenue for 2019 totalled £1 billion, outperforming forecasts by £65m. Despite a promising start to 2020 the rest of the year will be impacted by Covid-19 across the advertising industry.
Advertising revenue for national news brands rose by 0.7% year-on-year and by 11.4% online, in the fourth quarter of 2019.
This led to a 7% upswing in revenue for the full year, revising the 2019 forecast (from a year ago) from £939 million to £1 billion.
The forecast for Q1 2020 continues that trajectory, with reports of 0.7% projected growth, which would represent a fourth consecutive quarter of growth for our national news brands.
However, the Advertising Association/WARC expenditure report forecast obviously takes into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – national news brands are expected to see a decline of -20.5% for the total year.
Looking to 2021, forecasts show renewed optimism, with an 8.7% increase in advertising revenue for national news brands, and 17.7% for online.
According to recent Comscore figures, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a 30% surge in the total number of visitors to online news brand websites versus a year ago, which will be mirrored in the next set of PAMCo numbers released in June.
Denise Turner, Newsworks’ Insight Director said: “I am incredibly encouraged by these numbers. Four consecutive quarters of growth reflects an industry on the up, and a very different story to this time last year. We are of course facing challenging times across the advertising industry, but I believe news brands will weather this storm and emerge stronger, with a quick return to growth, as evidenced by the forecasts for 2021. The surge in news readership that we have seen demonstrates people’s appetite for trusted sources.”
Stephen Woodford, Advertising Association’s chief executive added: “Despite a good 2019 and promising start to 2020, COVID-19 has affected UK advertising as it has all parts of the economy and the falls we are seeing in adspend come as little surprise. The current quarter will be a tremendously tough time for many businesses across our industry. We are acutely conscious of their predicament and working fast with Government and officials, so that they get the best support possible.