BANGKOK: Advertising expenditure in Thailand plummeted by 42.6% in November as the nation mourned the death of its long-reigning monarch, according to new figures.

Data from research business Nielsen Thailand, reported in The Nation, indicated that spending during the month amounted to Bt 6.11bn, down from Bt10.65bn in the same period last year.

That in turn helped depress the calendar year-to-date figures, which it said had fallen 12% between January and November.

Television, radio and print account for more than 80% of ad spending in Thailand but all witnessed a decline over the 11 months, with cable and satellite TV being particularly hard hit.

Spending in this medium dropped 42% to Bt 3.22bn; expenditure on free-to-air analogue channels, meanwhile, fell 18% to Bt 42.03bn, while that on digital terrestrial TV was down 4 % to Bt 18.65bn.

Print, too, has struggled during 2016, with newspaper advertising tumbling 20% to Bt 8.89bn and magazine advertising by 31% to Bt 2.7bn; radio advertising fared better by comparison, decreasing a mere 7% to Bt 4.76bn.

Those media making up the remaining 20% of expenditure – cinemas, outdoor, transit, in-store and internet – all saw some growth.

Separate data from the Media Agency Association of Thailand (MAAT) painted a similar picture. Vice chair Wannee Ruttanaphon said that ad spending in all media outlets had dropped by 8% during October and November, the Bangkok Post reported.

But even before the king's death, spending was on a downward trend, according to MAAT figures, falling 6.1% over the first nine months of the year; over the full year it anticipates a 10% decline.

Wannee was optimistic that things would change in 2017, however, predicting a 4% lift in adspend in the first quarter as exports picked up and the effects of state investment in several large projects were felt.

She added that media planners and brands needed to adjust their strategies during the economic slowdown, something Nielsen Thailand has also advocated.

The researcher has found that people are spending almost four hours a day on their smartphones on communications, social media and entertainment activities and suggested that brands have yet to catch up with this changing behaviour. 

Data sourced from The Nation, Bangkok Post; additional content by Warc staff