SEOUL: Overall advertising expenditure in Korea was only slightly up during 2013 but mobile adspend more than doubled as smartphone penetration increased and consumers made use of an expanded free high-speed internet service.

According to latest figures from Cheil Worldwide, spending on mobile leapt 119% to 460 billion KRW, while the total market increased at just 2.2% to some 9,471 billion KRW. Cheil said there had been a conservative approach to advertising spending thanks to recession and growing levels of household debt.

But it expected the situation to pick up in 2014, with 3.8% growth as the economy improved and a series of major sporting events – starting with the recent Winter Olympics and continuing with football World Cup and the Incheon Asian Games – helped boost advertising.

Cheil further observed that within the data there had been significant movement between media, with traditional channels such as terrestrial TV, newspapers and magazines continuing to decline while newer ones such as IPTV and mobile had dramatically expanded.

In particular, advertising expenditure on terrestrial TV was down 5.4% in 2013 and this channel now accounted for just 19.1% of total adspend, a development attributable in part to the expansion of N screen services which deliver media to all the screens a consumer uses.

In contrast, advertising spending on IPTV and satellite TV had surged as subscriber numbers rose. By December 2013 there were some 8.6 million IPTV and 4.18 million satellite subscribers. IPTV adspend had risen almost four times as fast, however, up 61.7% to 38 billion KRW.

Internet advertising expenditure overtook terrestrial TV in 2012 but growth has slowed since then, up just 2.5% in 2013 as some spending shifted towards mobile. Search continues to be the major part of internet media spending, at 1,300 billion KRW compared to display's 682 billion KRW, but the latter's share of this market has been creeping upwards steadily, from 32.5% in 2010 to 34.0% in 2013.

While newspaper (-6.6%) and magazine (-8.4%) advertising continued to decline, Cheil identified some areas bucking the trend, notably in titles relating to male and the economy.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff