No huge surprise here — the ad market industry will feel long-term effects of the pandemic, according to Rob Williams writing in Publishing Insider.
“The researcher predicts global ad spending on newspapers will be little changed — $9.8 billion in 2021, following an expected 26% plunge this year that was the worst performance for the industry in more than 40 years,” Williams writes.
On a positive note, print ad decline should stabilize, Williams writes; WARC predicts that magazines will “hold steady, with an expected $4 billion in spending next year.”
While a strong rebound would be nice, at least it appears the worst of the declines are over. And many publishers can expect to benefit from an expected boost in digital video ads on their platforms (although new alarm bells about digital ad fraud are making some skittish).
One bright spot is the travel and tourism industry, which was slammed this year but expected to recover more quickly than others.
“Among industry categories, WARC forecasts that travel and tourism will see the strongest rebound in spending at almost 20% — an optimistic sign that recent news about successful coronavirus vaccines will help bring an end to the pandemic,” Williams continues.
“Ad spending in those industries plunged 34% this year as consumers shunned air travel and health authorities urge people to avoid unnecessary trips,” he notes.
With the pivot so many publishers made to subscription sales during the pandemic, any rise in expected ad revenue will be a bonus to the revenue stream. I believe most publishers understand a fundamental shift has taken place in the industry, with less reliance overall on ads and more focus on reader-funded content, subscriptions and membership programs. When the ad industry rebounds — and folks, it will — they’ll be strongly positioned to take full advantage thanks to their efforts to become essential for their readers, making them extremely attractive to ad partners.