What: Latin American media owners’ net advertising revenues (NAR) to grow by +9.3% in 2018, to US$26.3 billion, following a +7.3% growth in 2017; thanks to a more robust economic recovery in the region, according to MAGNA.
Why it matters: Television remains the top media category in the region with 54% of total advertising sales while Digital advertising in Latin America remains lower than the global average.
MAGNA is expecting Latin American media owners’ net advertising revenues (NAR) to grow by +9.3% in 2018, to US$26.3 billion, following a +7.3% growth in 2017, thanks to a more robust economic recovery in the region. The latest IMF update forecasts real GDP growth of +1.9% next year in the region, compared to +1.7% in 2017 and -0.9% in 2016. Economic recovery remains extremely fragile, however, and political instability continues to loom over several countries, including Brazil.
A +9% growth would not be that impressive considering the high levels of economic inflation in the region, and the growth rates experienced pre-2014 that usually range between 10 and 15%. However, that would the strongest growth rate since 2013.
Ad spend trends continue to vary by country. Digital switch-overs, the introduction of new TV channels, government reconstruction programs in natural disaster areas, and elections are all expected to impact marketing activity and advertising spending. Nevertheless, most LATAM markets are expected to see slightly higher ad spend growth in 2018 versus 2017, as economies in the region are stabilizing and benefitting from the recovery of commodity prices.
Television remains the top media category in the region with 54% of total advertising sales at the end of 2017
Television remains the top media category in the region with 54% of total advertising sales at the end of 2017, way above the global average (35%). Television is forecast to hold its media leadership until 2021, when digital finally becomes the top media format in Argentina and Brazil. Free-to-air TV is the dominant segment (+4% in 2018) controlling 80% of total TV NAR but Pay TV is experiencing faster growth (+6% in 2018) as subscription fees and programing are gradually becoming more attractive. Another driver is the change in selling models, from a cable model (where advertisers buy packaged airtime with little control over which channels their campaign appear on) to a direct sales model (where advertisers and agencies buy from individual Pay TV vendors). This is taking place in Chile and Uruguay, for example.
Television will benefit from increased viewing and brand interest around the FIFA World Cup as usual, although the excitement may not be quite as high as four years ago when the tournament was hosted by Brazil; time difference may also be an issue but the event is still guaranteed to boost TV ad sales especially in the eight nations that qualified this year: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Peru in South America, as well as Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama for Central America.
Digital advertising in Latin America remains lower than the global average, inhibited by a relatively low digital penetration and the sheer power of television. It is expected to grow by +23% to reach 32% total media share at the end of 2018, still well below the global average of 44%. Social media (+30%) and digital video (+33%) will grow significantly again next year, while search (+21%) remains the number one media type with 36% of total digital ad sales.
With BRL 49 billion in NAR (approx. $14 billion), Brazil is the sixth largest advertising market in the world and accounts for over half of LATAM’s advertising spend.
Brazil’s economy has begun to stabilize from the recession in 2015 and 2016. Real GDP will grow by +1.5% in 2018, accelerating mildly after the stabilization of 2017 (+0.7%) and the severe recession of 2016 (-3.6%), while Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation has dropped from its peak of 9% in 2015 to just 4% expected in 2018. Media cost inflation, on the other hand, remains high (between 6% and 10% across media categories). Business confidence however, continues to be hindered by political instability with unelected President Michel Temer, successor to impeached president Dilma Rousseff, himself facing various corruption scandals. The next presidential election, scheduled for October 2018, will hopefully clarify the political environment but is not expected to directly affect advertising spend, as parties are not allowed to buy television advertising time.