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May 19, 2020

WFA Study: Print Ads More Vulnerable To Cuts Than Digital

MediaPost's Rob Williams reports: "Advertisers are more likely to cut their media budgets for print than for digital, making online outlets more significant for publishers amid the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, a study suggests. Advertisers plan to cut their print budgets by an average of 37% during the first half of the year, given the health crisis, according to a survey of 38 companies by the World Federation of Advertisers. The cuts aren't as severe as the 56% drop in events and experiential marketing, or the 49% pullback in outdoor advertising. Those multinational companies said they will reduce spending on online display advertising by 14% and online video by 7%, making those formats the least affected by the pandemic during the first half of the year. The picture brightens for later in the year, with 41% of advertisers saying they are deferring campaigns by six months, and 22% by three months from when the survey was taken in April. The findings suggest advertisers grew more pessimistic from a month earlier, when lockdowns were being implemented in North America and Europe. The data is discouraging, but at least the summer months are slower for publishers and the broader media industry. A key test will be the gradual easing of lockdowns that let more businesses reopen, even if they must revamp their operations for social distancing and improved hygiene. Any progress in these efforts will set the stage for the critical back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. Obviously, keeping schools closed will suppress demand for school supplies and kids' clothing. It will be the first sign of what to expect for the remainder of the year."


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