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News 16 Aug 2021 - 2 min read

Olympics boosts July ad spend and August looking strong despite Covid, lockdowns: SMI

By Sam Buckingham-Jones - Senior Writer
SMI Jane Ractliffe says ad spend is still high in July

"With the first wave of COVID last year there was an instant retraction of ad spend but that’s definitely not happening this time," SMI AU/NZ's Jane Ractliffe says.

Despite lockdowns, SMI data shows ad spend for the month of July is well ahead of 2020 figures – and closing in on 2019 benchmarks. The Tokyo Olympics fuelled a massive 41 per cent rise in TV ad spend, with cinema and OOH also making big gains.

What you need to know:

  • Ad spend in July is still well higher than the same time in 2020, early SMI numbers show, with growth estimated at roughly 40.8 per cent year-on-year.
  • July bookings are just $6 million below July 2019.
  • The Tokyo Olympics fuelled a 41.9 per cent increase in TV spend, while cinema recorded $3.5m in spend – a 1,883 per cent increase on last year’s $179,000.

Ongoing lockdowns on the east coast of Australia have not halted ad spend, with Standard Media Index reporting July 2021 figures are just $6m shy of July 2019 spend.

Interim July ad spend, which does not include late digital media bookings, is up 18.3 per cent on July 2020 – 40.8 per cent higher when removing digital ad spend from last year’s figures.

“This is now the fourth straight month in which we’ll be reporting a growth rate beyond 40 per cent and that’s an extraordinary turnaround in the market from the Covid downturn seen last year,” SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Ractliffe said.

"With more than half the month of August to go we can already see the value of ad spend for the month is only 2 per cent below that achieved for the whole of August last year... with the first wave of Covid last year there was an instant retraction of ad spend but that’s definitely not happening this time."

Despite the latest outbreaks, there has been little evidence of reduced demand in coming months, according to SMI’s Forward Pacings data.

July was a notable month as it included the Tokyo Olympics, which boosted a 41.9 per cent increase in TV ad spend.

Out-of-home spend rose 98.9 per cent, and cinema rose 1,882.7 per cent in July, according to SMI. SMI has added a 'retail online digital' sector to its database this month, to track the increases in the e-commerce and retail markets.

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