SYDNEY: Outdoor was among the strongest performing advertising media in Australia during March and has overtaken newspapers in terms of expenditure by main media agencies.

Latest figures from Standard Media Index (SMI) show that total media agency ad spend for March was up 1.9% to A$653.4m; for the first quarter overall it increased 4.3% to A$1.7bn, Mumbrella reported.

Within that, outdoor advertising in March was 26.1% up on a year earlier at A$68.7m. And over the whole of the first quarter outdoor revenues rose 16.1% on the previous year to a total of A$178.5m, for the first time putting it ahead of newspapers.

The Outdoor Media Association itself recently reported first quarter ad revenues up 22.4% to a total of A$149.4m.

Print media, meanwhile, continued their downward path during March, with newspapers tumbling 15.8% year on year and magazines 19.7%.

Radio also grew during the month, up 12% to A$55.5m, as more people tuned into local commercial radio, while cinema benefitted from a strong movie release schedule ahead of the Easter holidays and leapt 46.8% to A$5.4m.

Television spend was flat, registering a marginal 0.4% increase to A$310.3m, while digital rose 4% to A$133.8m.

The particular interest in television was the elevation of the Nine Network to the top position in terms of advertising revenues. Its 41% share put it ahead of rival Seven, on 37.2%.

This was almost a reversal of the situation a year ago, but Nine's boost may be only temporary, given that it has benefitted from its coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup which Australia won, and from the start of a new rugby league season.

Warc's Consensus Ad Forecast, based on a weighted average of predictions from various sources including advertising agencies, media companies and industry bodies, expects the growth in Australian outdoor adspend to be 4.4% this year, ahead of the all-media growth of 2.7%

Data sourced from Mumbrella, The Australian; additional content by Warc staff