Fueled by economic recovery hopes and a boost in consumer confidence, South Korea’s ad spend is projected to grow 4.6% year-over-year and record 12.55 trillion won (US$12.25 billion), according to Cheil Worldwide.

Digital ad spend is expected to exceed 6 trillion won (US$5.37 billion) and account for nearly 50% of total ad spend due to the continued growth of video ads.

Meanwhile, broadcast ad spend is expected to grow due to full implementation of in-program advertising in terrestrial TV advertising, and permission to air virtual and indirect advertising of products that previously had restrictions.

2020 ad spend breakdown


  • In 2020, digital ad spend grew 13% year-over-year, reaching 5.71 trillion won (US$5.11 billion), accounting for all-time-high 47.6% of all ad spend. 
  • Digital ad spend which includes mobile and PC led all ad spend as it grew by 13% year-over-year.
  • Mobile ad spend recorded 17.5%, totalling 3.85 trillion won (US$3.44 billion). Search-based ad spend saw 6.6% increase to reach 1.82 trillion won (US$1.63 billion), while display ad spend recorded 29.4% increase to 2 trillion won (US$1.79 billion) benefitting from increased demand on video ads.


  • The overall broadcast ad spend, including TV and radio, decreased 8.5% compared to the previous year to 3.46 trillion won (US$3.1 billion).
  • Terrestrial TV ad spend dropped 7.7% recording a total of 1.13 trillion won (US$1.01 billion) due to postponement of the Summer Olympics and delayed introduction of in-program advertising, combined with the slowdown of the economy.
  • Cable TV and total TV programming ad spend recorded 1.86 trillion won (US$1.6 billion), a 7% drop compared to the previous year. Cable TV ad spend decreased due to reduced sports and stage performance broadcasting while total TV programming ad spend showed growth driven by the success of its music entertainment contents.


  • Newspaper ad spend recorded 1.38 trillion won (US$1.6 billion), a 2.4% drop, while magazine ad spend recorded 235.6 billion won (US$200 million), a 16.8% drop from the previous year.


  • OOH ad spend recorded 756 billion won (US$677 million), dropped by 27.2%. This is the first time in ten years OOH ad spend downscaled to seven-billion-won mark after surpassing 8 billion won (US$7.1 million) in 2011.
  • Cinema ad spend dropped 72% recording 60.1 billion won (US$53 million).
  • Ad spend in transportation, shopping malls, and sports stadiums all recorded a two-digit decrease. 

Sourced from Cheil Worldwide