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Traditional Ad Spending in China Continues Decline

Cinema spending is up, newspapers down

November 15, 2016 | Advertising

Traditional media ad spending in China, including on magazines, newspapers and more, in Q3 2016 is down 5.5% from Q3 2015. But there’s good news to be had from Kantar CTR Market Research’s November 2016 report as well: spending has declined less from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016 than it had between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015.

Traditional* Media Ad Spending Growth in China, Q3 2011-Q3 2016 (% change vs. same period of prior year)

Ad spending declined by over 7 points from Q3 2014 to Q3 2015. While the last two years have seen Q3 declines in growth, and Q3 2014 was flat when compared with Q3 2013, a slighter decline in traditional ad spending in China might signal good signs for ad spending.

It’s tempting to consistently revert to the idea that traditional media are dying. Internet ad spending is up 24% in Q3 2016 vs. Q3 2015, a big difference with the overall trajectory of traditional media. But other traditional media are growing: Cinema pre-roll advertising is up nearly 60% vs. Q3 2015, for example.

Total Media Ad Spending Growth in China, by Media, Q3 2016 (% change vs. same period of prior year)

Elevator advertising, both via poster and via screen, is also up, with each seeing growth of over 20%. Newspaper ad spending, conversely, is down 40%, and magazine ad spending is down nearly 30%.

In September 2016, eMarketer estimated that there will be nearly $80 billion in total media ad spending in China this year. That figure will leap up to over $90 billion in 2017, eventually rising to the total of $132.29 billion in 2020. Print advertising spending will decline, while digital—especially mobile—will rapidly rise.

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