BANGKOK: Advertising expenditure in Thailand fell almost 9% in the first quarter of 2016 and the downward trend is expected to continue into the second quarter, before recovering in the latter half of the year.

New figures from Nielsen Thailand show that measured media spending – the research business does not include out of home or internet spending in Thailand – declined from Bt29.24bn in Q1 2015 to Bt26.73bn in Q1 2016.

And it indicated that the slump had accelerated towards the end of the period, as the decrease in adspend in the first two months was only 6.7% year-on-year.

The figures are a setback since "the first quarter of the year is commonly known as high season in the advertising industry", noted Manee Eab, managing director of media agency Magna Global.

"We believe that this cut was a result of poor bottom lines and sales by each major corporate during the period," he told The Nation.

Unilever, for example, is by some distance the country's largest advertiser, but it slashed its spending 38% from Bt1,879m in Q1 2015 to Bt1,158m in Q1 2016.

Eab thought the situation would improve in the second half of the year, however, as government stimulus measures worked through the economy.

All traditional media experienced declines during the first three months of the year, but magazines were especially hard hit as they saw spending plummet by 26.0% year-on-year to Bt744m; newspapers escaped relatively lightly, by contrast, as spending there was down 13.8% to Bt2.51bn.

Television spending was down across the board, but expenditure on cable/satellite was least affected, dropping just 4.4% to Bt1.24bn. The decline at digital TV was above the industry average, at 9.4% (Bt4.48bn), while that at analogue television was on a par with newspapers, down 13.1% to Bt12.5bn.

Data sourced from The Nation; additional content by Warc staff