IAB Survey Forecasts 20% Ad Declines For 2020, Digital Media Recovering Faster Than Linear TV

An IAB survey of media agency buyers and advertising executives expects a big 20% decline in media budgets this year vs. 2019 due to COVID-19 disruptions, which in turn have led to major economic declines. 

Digital media is expected to recover more quickly, according to the survey, especially in the second half of 2020 -- up 13% versus 2019. In contrast, linear TV will be flat in the third quarter and down in the fourth quarter.

One positive area for traditional TV companies is connected TV/over-the-top platforms. Media-buying agency executives expect an increase in revenues of 46% in 2020 over the year before, while brand executives believe CTV/OTT will rise 32%. 

Forty-one percent of a buyer’s ad-spending budget is expected to go to total TV/video media buying for upfront/NewFront-related deals on traditional TV and digital video platforms for the 2020/2021 TV season. 



This is a slight drop versus the previous TV season, where it was 44%, according to the survey.

In turn, scatter-placed deals -- as a percentage of overall budgets -- are projected to rise to 59% from 56%.

Despite recent ad industry groups' calls to transition to more calendar-year TV buying -- from the TV season’s September to August year --  the survey doesn’t expect much change. 

All TV/video buyers expect 33% of media schedules to be pegged to broadcast-year deals for upcoming TV deals, 36% for calendar-year, and 32% for scatter. This is roughly the same versus the current TV season (2019/2020): 33%, broadcast-year; 37%, calendar-year; 29%, scatter.

One troubling trend is that nearly half of buyers say that while budgets are stable for the remainder of 2020, they have lower “confidence” for budgets in 2021.

Almost three-quarters of media buyers believe digital media “NewFront” presentations “are more important than ever.” Half the buyers would like to see the NewFronts and traditional TV upfronts merge in order to gain a better understanding of measurement and research.

The IAB survey was fielded May 29 to June 8, among 148 media executives, including buyers, planners, and brand executives.


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