Myers Report

How much of a bite will the coronavirus take out of audio ad revenues in 2020? While the pandemic remains fluid, making it impossible to know with any certainty, a new forecast from The Myers Report suggests it may not be as bad as some may fear. The report compares pre-coronavirus and post-coronavirus forecasts for 2020 advertising and marketing investments in the 28 major categories.

The pre-coronavirus forecast called for audio to grow 6.3% to $19.92 billion in 2020. The latest outlook is for slightly lower growth of 5.9% to $19.85 billion or a loss of 0.4% from the previous forecast.

Taking the biggest hit based on percent of lost revenues is experiential and event marketing (excluding digital), which The Myers Report predicts will lose 9.6% of expected growth or more than $2 billion. Also hard hit are direct mail/marketing (-7.4%), cinema advertising (-7.2%) and mobile and apps advertising (-5.9%), according to a story in MediaVillage. Least impacted are newspaper advertising (+5.7% comparing pre- and post-coronavirus forecasts), content marketing (+6.7%), public relations (+6.5%), broadcast network TV (+4.1%) and advanced TV (+2.9%).

Overall, Myers is projecting total growth in advertising budgets will decline from +6.2% to +4.8% with the caveat that it may get worse.

Others paint a grimmer picture. A story in Digiday carries the ominous headline, “After the shock, ad industry grimly prepares for a prolonged downturn.” The gist of the account is that advertisers at first thought the coronavirus would bring a short sharp downturn but are now girding for its impact to linger for months. “For most advertising execs, the coronavirus pandemic now means normal business is on hold indefinitely,” Digiday’s Seb Joseph writes. “The grim economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are beginning to sink in across the advertising and media landscape.”

Meanwhile Brian Wieser, Global President of Business Intelligence at GroupM takes a slightly more optimistic view in a new report. “Most of the world is a long way from a ‘new normal,’ but marketers should concurrently prepare for its eventual return while finding ways to help stakeholders and manage through the current period as best as possible,” he writes. Global concerns around the coronavirus rose sharply in the past week. And capital markets are now better incorporating the pandemic into their expectations. “In tangible terms, marketers in much of the world are only beginning to assess how to address evolving circumstances,” Wieser says.

But just because changes are impacting societies doesn’t mean that marketers should change their media strategies, he reasons. And a crisis like the one impacting the world “will have many unfortunate consequences” but the changes in behaviors that follow could open up new opportunities for marketers. “Either way, normalcy will eventually return, and if the choices marketers make during this period resonate, they and the world will hopefully come through all of this better positioned to thrive in the future,” Wiser concludes.