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Russian adspend slumps

News, 04 March 2016

MOSCOW: Advertising expenditure in Russia slumped in 2015, with only internet spending bucking the general downward trend as the economy slowed, according to new figures.

Data from the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (AKAR) showed that the advertising market was worth some 307.5bn roubles ($4.1bn) in 2015 – 10% down on the previous year, the Moscow Times reported.

Internet spending rose 15% to 97bn roubles ($1.3bn) but all other media saw double-digit declines.

The print market was hardest hit, plunging 29% to 23.3bn roubles ($315m). Outdoor was down 21% to 32bn roubles ($433m) while radio fell 16% to 14.2bn roubles ($192m).

Television, the single biggest advertising market, emerged from a difficult year with a 14% decline in ad revenues, to 136.7bn roubles ($1.8bn).

Bad as they are, these figures represent an improvement on those in Warc's International Ad Forecast which had posited an overall 13.4% fall in for 2015 before barely returning to positive territory in 2016 at +0.9%.

But these expectations may have to be reviewed in light of the central bank's recent warning that it anticipated "a more sizeable GDP contraction in 2016 than forecast previously". It also suggested that positive growth wouldn't return until 2017 and even then it would be low.

The country's economy has been hit by falling oil prices while the EU and US have also imposed sanctions following events in the Ukraine and Crimea.

GDP contracted 3.7% in 2015, retail sales were down sharply in December (-15.3%) while real wages fell for the 14th month in a row.

But amidst all these negative indicators, Barclays economist Daniel Hewitt discerned light at the end of the tunnel, as he said January data indicated the recession could be "bottoming out" as the rate of decline in measures such as retail sales and unemployment was slowing.

Data sourced from Moscow Times, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff