New Zealand’s swift return to normality drives a more resilient TV advertising market compared to the UK
As the pandemic spread in 2020, governments around the world announced lockdown measures which would drastically alter consumer behaviour and create a challenging climate for TV advertisers. Demand for TV advertising in all markets was significantly reduced in 2020, but the way different countries have responded subsequently will influence their recovery.
The UK and New Zealand offer two contrasting stories of how lockdown progressed over the course of the pandemic. While New Zealand was able to control the spread of the virus very quickly and relax lockdown measures, the virus spread at a great rate in the UK resulting in stricter lockdown measures remaining in place for substantially longer. This created different climates for TV advertising in each country, for which the return to normality would prove the driver of recovery.
As two already mature markets, the UK and NZ had seen declines in TV advertising revenue in the four years prior to the pandemic, averaging 3% YoY in the UK between 2016 and 2019, and 5% YoY in the NZ market in the same period. In the UK market, the YoY decline of 17% in 2020 was an unprecedented drop of more than five times the average annual decline between 2016-2019, indicative of a substantial blow to the UK market.
While 2020 was a challenging year for the NZ market, the YoY decline of 9% it experienced is not unprecedented and is more consistent with the average decline of recent years, and therefore the NZ market appears to have been more resilient than the UK market. As NZ is predicted to return to pre-pandemic GDP and consumer confidence levels sooner than the UK, this resilience is likely a result of more favourable macroeconomic conditions. However, as the pandemic hastens the historical trend of TV moving away from linear, the broadcasters best equipped for this change will have the best long terms prospects.
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