African TV Advertising Looks Like It Bounced Back in 2021 but Spending May Slow in 2022 With Global Bad News and Digital Pressures


London — Data on advertising spend in Africa is not always available in a timely fashion and without discounting factored in, the figures are at best only provide a broad indication. Russell Southwood looks at the figures from Kenya and South Africa to try and read the ‘tea leaves’ for 2022.

Advertising spending figures are only available for a limited number of countries and are often only published 9-12 months after a year has passed. Advertising expenditure is linked to the health of a country’s economy. According to the African Development Bank, real GDP will grow in 2021 by 3.4%, having contracted in 2020 by 2.1%, 2020 being the high water mark for the impact of Covid-19 on most African countries.

ReelAnalytics and the International School of Advertising provided first half year (H1) figures for Kenyan ad spend in August last year. Overall advertising was 15% up compared to H1, 2020 and was a 4.4% decline compared to H2, 2020, which is usually the bigger spending half of the year.

By media type, the breakdown was as follows:

TV KS35.1 bn

Radio KS23 bn

Out of Home KS1.7 bn

Print KS0.7 bn

Total KS60.5 bn

Whilst TV still dominates, TV and radio ad spend dropped 6% and 4% respectively, whilst Out of Home put on 27% and print 9%. The latter two benefitted from people being back on the streets after lockdowns.

The top five TV stations by ad spend were (% amount): Citizen TV (15.2%), KTN Home (13.8%), NTV (12.1%), Kameme TV (8.9%) and K24 (7.8%). Inooro TV dropped out of the top five. It is a sign of the fragmentation of the market that the top five stations by ad spend only account for 50% of the overall TV ad spend.

The top spender was betting and communications (including mobile operators) declined by 14% in H1, 2021, reflecting the consolidation in the country’s mobile market.

Digital spend is expected to increase by 20.4% in 2021 compared to 2020. This increase will affect TV most as it has the lion’s share of overall ad spend. Those producing this data have yet to find a way of integrating this element of ad spend into the overall figures. According to the Media Council of Kenya, 10% of those sampled got their news from social media compared to 47% for television in 2020.

In South Africa, Neilsen produced full year figures in March this year. As with Kenya, there has been bounce back with R47 bn spent, up 29% from 2020. For the first time, one of the advertising brands, Unilever spent R2 bn.

TV ad spend takes a larger piece of the pie than Kenya (58.5%) but again digital spend is not included:

TV 68%

Radio 16%

Print 11%

Out of Home 5%

Out of Home and print are reported as being under the strongest pressure and digital spending continues to grow, putting pressure on TV spend.

On the surface, all of the above would good signs for renewed growth in 2021 into 2022. But there are clouds on the horizon:

There are things that will affect the global economy that will have a knock-on effect on Sub-Saharan African economies. The slowdown in the Chinese economy that still has several major cities under lockdown, will affect mineral purchases. The Ukraine War is looking as if it will put European economies into recession. The only glimmer of good news from this mayhem is much higher prices for oil and gas.

These kinds of figures never factor in discounts that media owners have to make to get their share of the spend. Kenya’s fragmented market remains highly competitive and discounts are therefore likely to be higher rather than lower. The same observation could be made for countries like Ghana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Senegal and Uganda.

Covid-19 made some impact on improvinng the quality of digital services in the home and on the smartphone. More people became reliant on the internet over lockdown periods – both for leisure and work – and some part of this growth will be sustained. Therefore digital advertising will continue to increase. Those TV stations with a good online offer will benefit from this change but it may not entirely replace what has been lost.

So two cheers rather than three for better ad spend news in 2022 but it’s not a good time to be a print and digital newspaper.

In Brief

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