Borrell Associates has revised its 2020 outlook for total U.S. local advertising to reflect the continued — and quite fluid — impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firm has adjusted its forecast to $111.2 billion, which represents a 13.1% decline from an original projection of $129.1 billion. That original estimate would have marked a modest 1.3% uptick from 2019’s total of $128.1 billion.
Borrell Associates covered the specifics of the revised forecast during a webinar on Tuesday.
Slicing up the 2020 dollars, traditional media — including radio and television — is expected to get $42.1 billion, a 22.7% decline over 2019. (Pre-COVID, Borrell saw a drop of 3.5%.) The remaining $69.1 billion for 2020 is bound for digital coffers — a 6.1% decline over 2019. Digital was earlier forecast to show a 4.9% gain.
The aforementioned figures all exclude political advertising.
The latest forecast, the firm says, suggests a sluggish recovery: Borrell now expects total local U.S. advertising to post a 1.3% decline next year, a 1.5% gain in 2022, a drop of 0.5% in 2023 and a gain of 1.9% in 2024.
The long-term, however, isn’t all gloom and doom, according to Corey Elliott, Borrell’s Executive VP of Local Market Intelligence. “I think there’s going to be a lot of things that influence 2021 through 2024 numbers,” Elliott explained, “not the least of which is what’s going to happen in November. I think we’re going to see these numbers change.”
Borrell’s latest findings included some encouraging data for traditional radio. According to a panel survey, 12% of radio advertisers bought more of the medium beginning with the onset of COVID-19, and 6% began buying the medium. In fact, only podcasting/streaming audio (7%) has attracted more new buying than radio.
“Radio was the top traditional form of people saying, ‘There’s a pandemic going on. I’m either going to increase my spend, or I’m going to try something new,” Elliott said.
Traditional radio and podcasting/streaming audio are also poised to remain in the picture after the pandemic finally ends, according to Borrell’s research: 22% of radio advertisers say they’ll spend even more post-pandemic, with 4% saying they’ll begin spending for the first time. In the podcasting/streaming audio space, those numbers are 24% and 11%.
On a year-over-year basis, Borrell expects radio to endure a decline of 25.1% — a considerably worse fate than other traditional forms of media, including broadcast television and OOH (both down 15.4%), but better than newspapers (down 32.6%).