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Despite a slowdown in advertising spending caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, forecasters at the media buying giant Magna still expect podcasting advertising to grow 15% this year, with total marketer investment in the medium totaling nearly $800 million. Magna credits increasing consumption, as well as “new attractive audio content” that’s being launched for keeping advertisers engaged even in a challenging marketplace.

Podcasting will be a standout in the audio space overall. Magna forecasts digital audio ad sales will increase by a slower two percent this year, to $3.2 billion in total revenue. But as the impact of the global pandemic fades, it projects digital audio ad spending will “reaccelerate,” with spending levels estimated to climb 6.5% in 2021.

After a first quarter that saw overall U.S. ad spending climb 3.5%, Magna estimates the second quarter will be off by 17%, although some media will be down even more – none worse than in-cinema advertising, which it notes was “almost zero,” with movie theaters locked tight for most of the quarter. “Advertising spending will start to stabilize in third quarter and recover in fourth quarter as some businesses that started reopening in May-June will need to rebuild market shares, traffic and sales in the coming months,” Magna said. Political ad spending also “will significantly mitigate” the decline of non-political advertising revenues in 2020, according to its forecasting team.

Digital media hasn’t been immune from the downturn, as Magna projects U.S. digital ad revenues will be down during Q2 but recover to see “modest growth” for the year – growing two percent to $130 billion. “Digital media saw increased consumption during the COVID crisis and will remain more resilient in the face of reduced advertisers demand,” it said.

In 2021, Magna expects U.S. advertising sales to rebound, posting a gain of four percent. However, it will still be slightly smaller than it was in 2019.­­­­