SYDNEY: Australian media agencies have reported a record year of advertising expenditure in 2017, hitting A$7.11bn, an unexpected development given that the previous year included the Rio Olympics and a Federal election.

“This time last year the market was extremely cautious as there were no scheduled events in 2017 that were expected to spur advertising demand,” said Jane Ractliffe, managing director of SMI AU/NZ, which compiled the figures.

“But you never know what’s around the corner,” she added, “and in the second half of this year we’ve seen especially strong growth from the government category due to advertising surrounding the Same Sex Marriage debate and the Queensland election, with the category providing an extra A$53.6m to the market in this period.”

Co-incidentally, that roughly equates to the 0.7% increase in total spending, but the headline figure does not tell the true tale of how media spending is shifting.

Digital (+12.3%), outdoor (+7.3%), radio (+3.3%) and cinema (+2.8%) all reported record agency bookings in 2017, Media Week reported, while television bookings were down only 0.7%.

The print nightmare continued, however, with both newspapers (-20.7%) and magazines (-17.7%) seeing double digit declines.

With Queensland hosting the Commonwealth Games in April and two major global sporting events – the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup – also taking place this year, the outlook for 2018 is bright.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence also appears buoyant at the start of the 2018, as the latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index hit 123.5 points in the week to January 14, its highest level since October 2013.

There is positive sentiment around current economic conditions, The Age reported, although low wage growth may change that.

Sourced from Media Week, The Age; additional content by WARC staff