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The end is nigh?

While the numbers are not yet published for the spend on NZ TV during 2015, it’s unlikely they jumped by more than 30% last year. That’s the amount that would be necessary for them to look better than those just released for online advertising. The 2014 TV adspend was below $620 million, which was $20 million lower than that for 2013.

In 2015, just over $800 million was spent on advertising online in NZ, according to figures released Friday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

That $800 million represented growth of over 30% at a time when TV adpend is contracting and putting further pressure on free to air broadcasters. While some of the categories into which interactive advertising is broken down saw growth of over 100%, some of the actual numbers don’t easily match the messages.

Anyone who spends time on an online business is constantly subjected to “information” about how to maximise return from this, that or the other metric. During 2015 “mobile” was the word – if your offer wasn’t mobile-friendly, it wasn’t going to press anybody’s buttons at all. Now that the numbers are out, it turns out that effort that went into making content mobile-friendly very possibly wasn’t worth the effort, or cost. While $27.1 million was spent on mobile advertising, 120% more than was spent in 2014, it represented 3.4% of the overall spend.

Online video is a major driver of ever-growing bandwidth use, but not of advertising revenue. In the IAB reporting, it was the only category not to increase. While the 2% drop is marginal, it’s a much higher drop if measured against the amount of content available to viewers.

IAB breakdown of online advertising spend

IAB breakdown of online advertising spend

Is TV advertising dead?

No, it’s not, but when the Advertising Standards Authority releases its 2015 figures, it’s unlikely they’ll be encouraging. Accompanied by the sinking lid of standstill funding for NZ On Air and other agencies, there’s not much positive news for those who rely on local content, rather than any inbound production, for their income.