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Brighter future for Korean ad industry

News, 25 February 2015

TOKYO/SEOUL: Advertising expenditure in Japan grew almost 3% in 2014 while that in South Korea was flat but expected to pick up again in 2015, according to new statistics.

Cheil Worldwide attributed the mere 0.6% increase in Korean adspend, to $9.1bn, in part to the impact of the Sewol ferry disaster in which 304 people died, rocking Korean society and institutions. Consumer spending fell and marketers cut back, with terrestrial TV most affected as advertising declined 8% in the aftermath.

And a hoped-for summer boost from the FIFA World Cup failed to materialise as the national team was knocked out in the early stages.

Some structural shifts were also observable, as more Koreans turned away from broadcast TV to IPTV and video on demand. The IPTV ad market increased by as much as 67% according to Cheil.

Shifts were taking place in digital as well: the landline internet ad market shrank by 6.8% to $1.8bn, the first time it had ever recorded a fall. But the widespread use of smartphones fuelled significant growth in the mobile ad market, which rose 82.4% to $796m.

Mobile is predicted to continue to grow at the more modest rate of 20% in 2015, while terrestrial television is expected to show some recovery, increasing 3.4%.

In Japan, advertising expenditure rose 2.9% in 2014 to $58.3bn, according to figures from Dentsu. There was a surge at the start of the year when the Winter Olympics took place and as consumers rushed to buy before the April rise in consumption tax.

Internet advertising saw the greatest increase, thanks to mobile and video, up 12.1% to break the 1,000bn yen barrier for the first time.

Among traditional media, television registered a 2.8% increase, thanks in part to an accounting change which means that satellite media-related advertising is now included alongside spending on terrestrial television.

Newspapers were down 1.8% while magazines were unchanged and radio was up 2.3%.

Data sourced from Cheil Worldwide, Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff