China Insights

Ad spending rebounds in first three quarters

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

TV & Movie 14.11.2016 / 08:10

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Ad spending reverses its declining trend in the first three quarters of this year: it grew 0.1% from a year ago, while in the first three quarters of 2015, it declined 3.5%.

According to latest data from CTR Media Intelligence, in the first three quarters, the overall performance of ad spending in China has recovered: it grew by 0.1% from a year ago, while it was -3.5% a year earlier.



Ad spending in traditional media in first three quarters dropped by 5.5% from a year ago. It was better than the -7.3% on-year decline a year ago, but still in the downward spiral.


The situation improved a little for all traditional media channels except for print media.

In TV media, China Central TV Station’s channels and provincial ground TV stations’ channels (as against provincial satellite TV stations) realized growth in both ad spending and ad air time. In September alone, ad spending on TV grew by 1.4% from a year ago, which is the highest monthly growth this year. The growth was exceptionally strong for CCTV: ad spending in September jumped by 19.7% from a year ago while ad air time was 25.9% longer than a year ago. Transportation* and property/construction industry had increased their spending on CCTV channels more than any other industries. At the same time, the provincial ground TV stations also enjoyed minor growth in ad spending and ad air time. 

The reshuffle of ad buyer mix continues, especially on TV. Among the top five biggest buying industries, only pharmaceutical industry continued to raise their TV ad spending (+28.9%), while beverage (-13.7%), cosmetics and toiletries (-11.5%), food (-5.5%) as well as retail sales and service industries (-16.5%) all cut their budget for TV ad.



In the first three quarters, six out of top 10 TV ad buying brands were from pharmaceutical industry.


In the first three quarters, radio ad spending also reversed its decline.

The “haemorrhage” of print media showed no sign of slowing down. In the first three quarters, ad spending in newspaper dropped by 40% from a year ago, even larger than the 34.3% slide in the first three quarters of 2015. All top five buying industries reduced their spending in newspaper.


Ad spending in magazines dropped by 29.9% in the first three quarters from a year ago – the decline was bigger than 18.25% recorded a year earlier.

Among the new media channels, cinema pre-roll ad was the brightest star for the first three quarters: the top five buying industries all significantly raised their spending in this channel. The biggest buyer – telecommunications industry (including lots of Internet companies) - hiked its spending within cinemas by 130%. Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi had increased its ad spending by 10 times to top the brand chart.

However, the slowdown of China’s cinema box revenue seems to have undermined advertisers’ confidence a little. In September alone, ad spending in cinema pre-roll ad grew by 22.4% year-on-year, the smallest monthly increase within this year.



Source: CTR

Editor's notes

* Transportation industry includes transportation vehicles (automobile, bike, motorbikes, etc), transportation services (airlines, logistics and courier services) and transportation related services (gasoline, tyres, internal decoration).  

* For detailed definition of ad spending volume, please check the Chinese version article.

* To know more information, data and analysis of China's advertising market, please contact us.

* Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news alerts.


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