As with every rollercoaster ride, a swift plunge is the inexorable sequel to the prolonged upward haul. Surprising, then, that the adspend slowdown across the Asia-Pacific region has been so gentle – or so reports ACNielsen Media International for the half-year to June 30.

In the eleven markets scanned by Nielsen, all recorded a slowing in growth although aggregated adspend across the region nudged upward to reach $13.5 billion.

Second quarter advertising for private cars and motorcycles respectively leapt 125% and 131% in the region as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean automakers exploited national government policies that encouraged purchase of imports.

China remains the area’s largest advertising market at $5.3bn – now twice that of South Korea which sagged to $2.1bn after two successive quarters of decline. Pharmaceuticals led Chinese ad growth, reflecting the increased health awareness of consumers. But the market overall as measured by ratecard spend slowed to 12.6% from 44% in H1 2000 – with actual billings known to be far lower due to heavy discounting.

Comments Forrest Didier, ACNMI regional managing director: “Essentially all markets experienced slower growth in the first six months of 2001 compared to the same period last year. Some growth markets such as China, the Philippines and Indonesia are believed to have … experienced only little or no growth due to heavy discounting common during tough times. This is a far cry from the same period last year when many markets reported high double-digit growth."

In Malaysia, telecommunications adspend grew 11% during the first six months with the four carriers – Celcom, Digi, Maxis and Telekom Malaysia - all four featuring among the nation’s ten largest advertisers.

Singapore enjoyed a bullish half-year with media industry deregulation stimulating ad investments by media owners. In particular, the launch in May of MediaWorks’ Channel U and TVWorks, triggered an ad and marketing battle with deadly rival MediaCorp.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily