The global cinema advertising market is growing faster than any other medium except internet, according to a new WARC report – this despite the rise of streaming services that might be expected to eat into cinema attendances.

The latest WARC Global Advertising Trends focuses on Cinema, which is expected to generate $4.6bn in advertising this year – that’s an increase of 6.8% on 2018 and several percentage points ahead of the 4.6% forecast for all media.

Cinema accounts for just 0.7% of total global adspend but that share is holding steady; in fact, figures from WARC’s Adspend Database show its share has dipped only twice since 1980 (1994 and 2013) and growth in cinema ad investment has generally tracked ahead of other traditional media since 1981, but consistently so since 2014.

China is the largest cinema ad market globally, with RMB11.9bn (US$1.8bn) expected to be spent this year. This equates to a 47.3% share of global cinema adspend when measured in Purchasing Power Parity terms.

Further, China has accounted for three quarters (74.9%) of global growth in cinema adspend since 2015, on average, and is expected to contribute 87.4% towards global cinema growth this year.

In the US, the world’s second-largest cinema market with a projected value of $735m this year, the medium draws less than half a percent (0.4%) of media budgets on average, well below the 2.7% recommended by DCM research.

US moviegoers visited the cinema five times on average in 2018, which roughly equates to 263m consumers going every two months. But with almost three-quarters (74%) of Americans now using an online subscription to watch a movie at least 2–3 times each month, viewership in the living room may have reached parity with the silver screen.

In Europe, advertisers spend 1.6 times more on cinema per admission than in the US. The UK leads the way, with spend per admission rising from £0.18 in 1980 to £1.43 last year, when 177m admissions were recorded – the highest ever. And this was despite 46% of UK consumers stating that Netflix is their first choice for watching movies, according to GlobalWebIndex.

“The experiential nature of cinema places it in a different bracket to SVOD services, which instead occupy a similar space to traditional TV,” observes James McDonald, Managing Editor, WARC Data, and author of the research.

“This, coupled with the exclusivity of box office hits – particularly franchises – should ensure any downward pressure from SVOD services is minimal in the short term.

“Cinema offers advertisers access to younger, more affluent audiences who have an affinity with the medium,” he added. “This enables ads to be screened in a brand safe environment where they will be noticed, often in a location that is close to a retail outlet and, by extension, a point of purchase.”

Soured from WARC Data