As well as creating entire industries almost overnight, the impact of the pandemic was arguably more of an accelerant than anything else. For the media industry that meant a really tough year for traditional TV, newspapers, magazines and radio. According to data from the WARC, ad spending on TV was down 16% last year, radio was down 18%, and magazines and newspapers lost more than a quarter of their market.
The L-shaped recovery
The really bad news for those markets is that they aren't expected to bounce back this year. Forecasts for 2021 from the WARC predict that 3 of those formats — TV, magazines & newspapers — will be basically flat this year.
The flip side of the equation is online ad spend. Even in a pandemic year, where budgets are tight and advertising is an easy cost to rein in, spending on digital advertising was up. Ad spend on social media jumped more than 9% and search gained 8%. The advertising boycott of Facebook feels like a very long time ago, as the big tech advertising machine rolls on.