Print media costs are set to deflate by double-digits this year as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to the latest global forecasts from ECI Media Management. Magazine advertising CPM is to ease 17.0% this year, compared to an original forecast of 0.5% growth. Newspaper costs will also see a sharp deflation, down 11.8% compared to the 0.6% pre-outbreak growth.

This has been driven by a dip advertisers demand as a result of reduced consumption as consumers are less able to go outside and buy a physical newspaper or magazine. This trend has also quickened the shift to digital revenue models among publishers.

Other traditional media have also seen their CPM drop significantly. Radio cost is expected to fall by 9.0% this year against pre-outbreak growth of 2.3%. This is likely because listenership is now spread across cheaper dayparts rather than in premium drivetime spots.

TV was originally expected to see the highest increase in cost (+7.1%) in 2020 but this is now forecast to drop by 5.9%. Growing audiences and the lack of prominent sectors like travel means inventory has increased during the outbreak.

In contrast, digital media will see their costs continue to rise but at a far slower rate than initially thought. Digital video CPM is set to rise 1.3% this year, supported by the continued strong growth in YouTube advertising in Q1 2020.

Digital display CPM will remain largely flat, however, with costs up by just 0.3%. While benefitting from shorter-lead times, digital display has suffered from brands blacklisting keywords related to the coronavirus.

However, ECI adds that it is Asia Pacific that is driving global digital inflation. A number of key EMEA markets, including the UK, France and Spain, have instead seen costs fall.

By region, important differences emerge. Asia Pacific only sees deflation in print media, Latin America sees softer changes while EMEA and North America see decline across all media including digital. TV, radio and OOH costs are expected to fall by double-digits in North America this year.

This media deflation has largely been a result of widespread cuts to marketing budgets along with growing inventory from larger audiences. Amid competition in the C-suite, marketers could leverage lower media costs as competitors 'go dark' to build brand saliency and ultimately sales. For those that can't meet consumer demand at the moment, a focus on brand purpose may be more appropriate.

WARC Data clients can access CPM figures for key audiences and media across 39 markets here.

Marketing in the COVID-19 crisis

This article is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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