LONDON: TV advertising revenue dipped 3.2% in 2017 from the previous year’s record high while radio spending last year jumped 5.2% to its highest ever figure, according to new data.

Figures provided by commercial TV broadcasters to Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, show spending at £5.11bn in 2017, down from the 2016 peak of £5.28bn (these figures cover all formats and screens: linear spot and sponsorship, product placement, broadcaster VOD, addressable and interactive).

The decline, which followed seven consecutive years of growth in the UK, was attributed to a number of factors, including economic and political uncertainty, with a weakened pound and inflationary pressure leading some advertisers to reduce TV investment.

There were signs in the fourth quarter, however, that spending was picking up and the Advertising Association/WARC predict that TV advertising in the UK will return to annual growth again in 2018, forecasting a 1.5% increase in total investment.

“The pendulum is swinging back to TV,” claimed Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, as she observed the brand safety questions being asked of online advertising. “Advertisers are re-assessing where they advertise and TV is well placed to capitalise,” she said.

Thinkbox also noted that the cost of advertising on TV is almost 30% lower in real terms than it was ten years ago.

Data from Nielsen indicated that online businesses continued to be the biggest advertisers on TV during 2017: a total of £682m spent was just 0.3% less than in 2016.

Food was the second biggest spending category (£559m, -11.4%), followed by cosmetics & personal care (£431m, -2.4%), entertainment & leisure (£385m, +1.6%) and finance (£324m, -3.1%).

Commercial radio, meanwhile, scaled new heights in 2017 as spending hit £679.2m, with all formats, including local and sponsorship & promotion, seeing revenue increases.

Radiocentre, the industry body for the sector, reported that 12 out of the top 20 radio advertisers spent more than 20% of their total advertising budget on radio, and over half of those same advertisers increased their spend by 40% or more.

Amazon more than doubled its radio spending last year as it began promoting Echo, its voice-activated assistant, as well as its entertainment services such as Amazon Music and Prime.

Sourced from Thinkbox, Radiocentre; additional content by WARC staff