Morgan Stanley Forecasts Australian Ad Spend To Fall By 9% In 5 Years
In a recent analysis by investment bank Morgan Stanley on Australian advertising, it forecasted that the domestic media share will shrink if it doesn’t innovate quickly. The domestic media ad spend was $10.4 billion in 2019 and will fall at an annual rate of 9% over the next five years. In a note to clients, analysts wrote,
“We think investors perpetually underestimate the global leakage of ad spend from Australia.”
A section of marketers holds a viewpoint that the ad spend with Google and Facebook has started to plateau and revenue is returning to the domestic traditional media. However, the analysts completely disagree with this market viewpoint and highlighted numbers that suggest that there can be an acceleration post-COVID 19.
The Australian advertising market has shown little growth over the years – around 1.9 % a year. Also, the financial statements filed with corporate regulator ASIC reveals that over the last three years, global media/tech players’ revenues in Australia increased by roughly 20%.
The global ad tech players like Google, Facebook, Snap, and Twitter as well as emerging players like TikTok continue to take an increase in share in the Australian consumer’s time especially the younger demographics. They will have a larger share in digital media spend in Australia post-pandemic as well.
Morgan Stanley forecasts 2.1 % revenue to fall of global tech players in Australia in the current downturn but not as severe as that of domestic media- radio, outdoor, print, and TV. On the other side, the revenue of the domestic media players will see a drop of steep 22.1%
However, the analysts believe that global players will lift their market share in advertising in Australia. For instance, Google Australia’s gross revenue was $4.8 billion in 2019. Morgan Stanley estimates a 4% decline this year owing to the ad industry slow down but expects to rise 13% year-on-year growth up to 4 years to reach between $7 billion and $8 billion in ad revenue a year in 2024.
“Eventually, COVID-19 will be over and there will be a cyclical recovery in the Australian economy, and a bounce-back in the advertising cycle. ”
He further added that the market will be disappointed in expecting a rise in domestic media earnings.
“Even post COVID-19, when the overall advertising market stabilizes and starts to improve, we think the magnitude of the recovery will disappoint investors.”
“Our point of difference is our thesis … that if the global tech players continue to grow revenue double digits in Australia, but the total pool of ad revenues is only increasing 2% to 3% p.a., there is necessarily a ‘crowding out’ of ad spend left for domestic media companies to pursue.”
The markets underestimate the risks to ad revenue, profit margins, and ROCE(Return on equity) from a 5-year long term view. The main reason for the global tech giants growing faster than local media is structural changes. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and businesses that continue with traditional media platforms for advertising need to change and rethink their strategy.
The analysts in the report mentioned that
“The consistent industry feedback we receive is the current challenges facing large, small and medium-sized businesses across Australia is prompting leadership and management teams to think harder and deeper about becoming more digital,”
Many SMEs have tried marketing on digital platforms for the first time during COVID 19 as consumer behavior and time spent has changed and accelerated towards digital/online/mobile media. It is expected that the same pivot will exist with the advertising budgets.
Unfortunately, the crowding of traditional media- radio, outdoor, TV, print – is set to be more intense.
Morgan Stanley continues to have an underweight rating for ASX media companies like Seven West Media, WPP AUNZ, oOh! media and Southern Cross but Nine Entertainment.
Nine Entertainment (NEC)is an exception due to its various revenue sources like digital subscription, streaming, and digital advertising assets. Analysts believe that some Australian media companies have the potential to reinvent themselves and develop digital businesses and NEC has demonstrated the ability for such a reinvention.
The global players may face a threat if they fail to innovate themselves and will lose their consumer share and ad share.
- Neha Mehta
- Neha started her journey as a financial professional but soon realized her passion for writing and is now living her dreams as a content writer. Her goal is to enlighten the audience on various topics through her writing and in-depth research. She is geeky and friendly. When not busy writing, she is spending time with her little one or travelling.
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