The U.S. advertising market is expected to reach an all-time high in 2018, with media owners reaping $197 billion in net advertising revenues, according to a new report from Magna. Broadcast radio advertising sales are forecast to decline 4%, despite “the channel’s high reach,” because of a negative pricing trend.
The overall increase in advertising represents year over year growth of 5.5%, which Magna says “will be driven by a strong economic environment and incremental ad spend around cyclical events.” This is an acceleration over last year’s growth—of +2.7%—and an increase of its previous forecast of +5.0%.
Those even-year cyclical events include mid-term elections, the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, which will bring in $3.7 billion in incremental net advertising revenues (NAR). Without those, non-cyclical ad sales would grow by +3.7%, slightly slower than 2017 (+4.5%).
The Magna Advertising Forecast Report also predicts that digital will control a staggering half of all ad dollars in 2018. Digital ad formats such as search, video, display and social will continue “to account for the lion’s share of advertising growth,” reaching the 50% marker one year earlier than previously anticipated. Digital advertising sales will grow by +14% in 2018 to reach $97 billion, of which almost 60% will come from mobile advertising.
Meanwhile, traditional offline advertising sales will shrink by -5% this year, to $96 billion. Magna says that this includes a -2% decrease for national television ad sales -3.5% for local TV, -18% for print—and -4% for over the air radio. (This follows a radio NAR decrease of -2% to $14 billion for 2017.) However Magna’s radio forecast is confined to over-the-air broadcasts and doesn’t reflect radio’s growing digital assets. “The digital advertising sales of radio broadcasters and streaming players will grow by approx. 10%, mitigating the declines of the legacy linear ad formats,” Magna says. “However, the combined audio advertising (broadcast + digital) market is still expected to shrink by -2%.”
Print ad sales will be down by -15% to $18 billion. Out Of Home is the only traditional media channel likely to post net revenue growth, up +2%, because of “organic growth in digital/ambient OOH inventory.”