There's a tremendous amount of uncertainty in a just-released alert on the impact the Coronavirus may have on the advertising industry from GroupM's Business Intelligence unit, including the language it uses to qualify it.
The 1,527-word report uses the word "may" 13 times and the word "uncertainties" three times to explain how the virus could impact various aspects of the ad business, including both consequences and opportunities, as well as mega events like the Tokyo Sumer Olympic Games.
Generally speaking, uncertainty does not bode well when it comes to advertisers committing -- or canceling -- advertising budgets.
In terms of 2019-20 network upfront advertising deals, the networks are keeping an eye on third-quarter cancellation options, where advertisers have the option to cancel as much as 50% of their upfront ad buys. Normally, those options need to be exercised 60 days before the beginning of the quarter.
"If the volume of available budgets for spending on advertising weakens in any given country, it is difficult to anticipate which specific media will be most impacted," GroupM's Wieser writes in the agency's alert, referring mainly to China.
"Traditional television could fare relatively better because of the likely improvements in audience levels, while outdoor advertising may be worse off with lower levels of foot traffic in many places," he writes, adding: "At the same, time we emphasize that spending on paid media will not necessarily correlate with spending by marketers on services, such as those provided by agencies."