Surge unlikely in ad spending this year: MAAT

Economy January 24, 2014 00:00

By Watchiranont Thongtep
The Nat

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The Media Agency Association of Thailand (MAAT) predicts that there will only be 3 to 5 per cent growth to Bt146 billion in advertising expenditure this year despite the debut of 24 commercial digital terrestrial TV channels.

“The ongoing economic slowdown is being blamed as a key factor in influencing key advertisers’ decision to spend their money through some media outlets. Our projection is, therefore, set in line with the national gross domestic product, which is expected to lie roughly between 3 to 5 per cent from last year,” MAAT chairwoman Wannee Rattanaphon said yesterday.
Wannee added that the association did not include the risk factors from the continuing political unrest in the projection.
The 24 commercial digital terrestrial TV channels’ debut in the second quarter will not have that much of an impact on the industry this year, because advertising spending on cable and satellite TV channels will migrate to digital terrestrial TV channels, rather than move from the six free-TV channels. 
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans to officially launch new 24 commercial digital TV channels in April in 11 key provinces covering 50 per cent of the country’s 22 million households.
Nattapon Lertsrimongkol, group head of strategy and innovation at IPG Mediabrands, said his agency predicted that by the end of this year, only 8 per cent of the country’s households were expected to migrate from cable and satellite TV to digital terrestrial TV broadcast because its distribution was still limited. In addition, both advertising agencies and advertisers are waiting for audience measurement or TV ratings in order to evaluate the return of advertising investment.
Larger sample size 
In order to prepare for new digital terrestrial TV channels over and above the existing analogue free channels, Sinthu Peatrarut, managing director for media client leadership at research giant Nielsen (Thailand), said his company planned to increase sample size in its establishment survey from 1,800 homes to 2,200 homes. It would add another 1,000 homes for its independent survey to be in line with the NBTC signal-coverage roadmap.
However, Nielsen expects to deploy an additional people-metre three months after the digital TV channels take to the air, expecting to complete in mid-2015. The result of TV-rating measurement will complete and be ready for broadcasters and its clients later. 
Additionally, the MAAT expects to see a small impact on revenue at current analogue TV stations following the birth of new players in digital terrestrial TV business. However, the cable and satellite TV business this year will go in the other direction, as they expect to face a 6-per-cent decline from last year. By end of this year, advertising spending via digital terrestrial TV channels is expected to reach Bt4 billion.  
Wannee explained that mainstream media like television, radio and newspapers were still playing a key role in the industry this year. The advertising expenditure via six incumbent free-TV channels is expected to see 2 per cent growth, newspapers 3 per cent, while advertising spending on radio may be stagnant. 
In contrast, Rathakorn Surbsuk, trading partner at GroupM, said advertisers potentially allocate funds to other types of media, like transit and Internet, from second-tier like outdoor, in-store and magazines.