Fresh wave threatens media spending

Fresh wave threatens media spending

MI predicts contraction of advertising industry if outbreak lasts several months

Thailand's media spending is expected to grow less than 5% in 2021, down from a previous estimate of 8-10% following a fresh wave of the pandemic, says Media Intelligence (MI), a media planning and creative agency.

A contraction could happen if the outbreak is severe and lasts a few months, said MI.

"The third wave of the pandemic in Thailand is threatening media spending in 2021, which has caused fears that it might plunge to a new low again after just recently passing a low point in February," Pawat Ruangdejworachai, president of MI, told the Bangkok Post.

In the best-case scenario, the government will control infections in a month, which could help shore up consumer sentiment, said Mr Pawat.

In such a scenario, media spending is expected to grow by 5%, he said.

However, if the outbreak continues until May or June, spending could see a contraction, said Mr Pawat.

Only 5% of brands, he said, would benefit from the fresh outbreak, such as firms dealing with health-related products, but this advantage would not be as strong as last year. Another promising sector is lending.

However, the fresh outbreak could take a toll on auto, consumer drinks, and department stores, said MI.

"Even with innovation in the automotive industry as new players join, spending will decline, while consumer drinks should also experience a decrease as more people work from home," said Mr Pawat.

"Spending in the travel industry is also unlikely to pick up."

In terms of digital advertising spending, he said the third wave of the pandemic could cause the outlay to grow by only 5% in 2021, down from an earlier estimate of 8% growth to 22.8 billion baht, forecast in March by the Digital Advertising Association of Thailand (DAAT).

In 2020, digital ad spending surged 8% to 21 billion baht, an uptick from DAAT's forecast of 0.3% growth.

Spending was slow in the first half, during the onset of the pandemic, but rebounded later in the year, reported DAAT.

Facebook, YouTube, and Creative combined accounted for 60% of the total digital advertising spending in 2020.

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