With a month to go before it issues its year-end outlook for the ad economy, GroupM’s Business Intelligence team continues to report mixed signals based on earnings releases from major media companies and consumer advertising brands, but continues to think most pundits, analysts and journalists are being “disproportionately negative.
“It’s not that things are great necessarily, or great in the economy, but it’s just that they’re not all terrible,” GroupM’s Brian Wieser says in this week’s edition of the “This Week Next Week” podcast he co-hosts with GroupM’s Kate Scott-Dawkins.
While this week’s earnings releases from some big TV-centric media companies did disclose negative trending, coming on the heels of last week’s weakening signals from big digital companies like Google and Meta, the team noted there are strong pockets of growth among big consumer advertisers in packaged goods, travel and other categories, as well as some ad-supported media companies that generally don’t get proportionate attention among analysts and the financial press.
Yelp, for example, saw its third quarter ad revenues soar 27%, which Wieser noted gets overshadowed by coverage of Meta’s losses.
And while the financial community spends “outsize attention” on Roku’s negative advertising trends, Scott-Dawkins noted Univision’s national ad revenues jumped 8% in the third quarter.
“Even now – it’s the first week of November – I think there’s a lot of uncertainty about how exactly November and December shakes out for everyone,” Wieser noted.
And while the team did not tip their hand on whether they might be downwardly adjusting their outlook next month, they did tease the fact that they will provide a special analysis of “the world of streaming.
“I think it’s top of mind, especially as Disney and Netflix get into the ad sales market in more countries,” Scott-Dawkins noted, adding, “So having a look at what that space looks like right now. And also updating our cord-cutting, pay TV, what’s going on with linear reach in as many markets as we can try to cover.”
Noting that the U.S. is “rapidly approaching” a tipping point in which less than half the country subscribes to a MVPD or a vMVPD subscription TV service, Wieser said he report will try and assess how much of the revenue going to pure play ad-supported alternatives like Pluto, Tubi and Roku are “incremental” ad spending, or whether they are coming at the expense of traditional TV players.
“Did that money go away or is it holding up,” he said, adding, “We’ve got this mystery of sorts.”
Among the more mysterious signals the team hopes to address is that while big brands continues to spend on the medium, television’s reach is eroding.
They ended this week’s podcast on a proportionately negative note, pointing out that some big “digitally endemic” advertisers that had been spending big on TV to promote their reach and awareness may not be back for a while.
“I would imagine we will not see the Crypto Bowl again this year for the Super Bowl commercials,” Scott-Dawkins cited as an example.