Sky overtakes P&G as biggest traditional ad spender

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Sky overtook Procter & Gamble as the biggest spender on traditional advertising in the UK in 2017, increasing year-on-year spend by 2.7 per cent to £197.1 million (€224.7m), according to Nielsen data.

P&G’s spend dropped 1.4 per cent versus 2016 to £196.8 million, as did BT’s who retained third place despite a fall of 3.8 per cent to £144.1 million. Nielsen’s figures include the seven major traditional media formats but exclude internet advertising.

Tesco (up 71.6 per cent to £89.5 million) and Samsung (up 43.5 per cent to £66.6 million) had the largest annual increase among the top 100 spenders. Consequently they became new entrants to the top 10 – jumping 14 and 18 places, respectively – replacing Amazon (down 16.5 per cent) and furniture retailer DfS (down 13.5 per cent).

Waitrose, Confused.com and Google completed the top five in terms of the biggest percentage rise in traditional ad spend.

“It was quite a chalk and cheese year in terms of how the very biggest advertisers changed their emphasis on traditional advertising,” says Barney Farmer Nielsen’s UK commercial director. “Half spent more, half spent less, with the likes of Tesco and Samsung ramping up spend dramatically, in complete contrast to that of Virgin and Aldi. Of course, the differences are due to many factors including the competitive state of their sector, the changing allocation towards digital but also the wider uncertainty caused by Brexit. Thus, it’s hard to pick out an overarching trend other than the advertising dominance of the home media/telecoms providers and household goods manufacturers.”

Supermarket chain Aldi (down 32 per cent or £22 million) and Virgin Media (down 30.1 per cent or £31 million) had the biggest decline among the top 100 spenders. Overall, the Top 100 spent 3.5 per cent less on traditional advertising in the UK than in 2016 but still accounted for 60 per cent of spend, while the overall market fell by 2.5 per cent or £258.1 million.


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