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UK Video Ad Revenues Increased in H1 Despite the Pandemic

Tim Cross  15 October, 2020

Total UK video ad revenues grew by 5.7 percent year-on-year for the first half of 2020, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a digital ad spend update from the IAB and PwC. This makes video the only channel measured by the IAB and PwC to see growth through the depths of the pandemic.

Overall, digital ad spend in the UK fell by five percent year-on-year in H1, down to £7.06 billion. Total spend on search, non-video display ads, classified ads, and other forms of digital advertising all saw lower revenues in H1. But video ad spend grew to £1.35 billion, accounting for almost 20 percent of total digital ad spend.

Digital video advertising’s resilience in the wider economic context is impressive. UK GDP was down by 20.4 percent in Q2, and total ad spend across the UK is predicted to be down 15.6 percent in 2020, according to the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report.

The IAB and PwC attribute video’s strength to the popularity of streaming during lockdown. Consumers’ time spent online has increased on all types of digital platforms and publications, not just streaming services. But streaming platforms haven’t faced the same issues as news publishers, where some advertisers have been cautious about advertising next to sensitive COVID-19 related content.

IAB UK CEO Jon Mew said the overall fall in digital ad spend is not surprising, given the wider economic context. “The data released today is hugely useful in understanding the health of the digital ad market as a whole and how different areas are faring – yet we know that this continues to be a hugely challenging time for many of our members and that the relatively small decline in digital ad spend at an industry-wide level won’t reflect the individual situations of all,” he said.

“Yet there is cause for hope,” he added. “Following 22 years of consecutive growth, the digital ad market went into this crisis in a position of strength and it’s great to see some areas of growth, despite the circumstances. Most importantly, digital advertising continues to drive results, build brands and offer unique creative solutions for advertisers looking to reach huge and engaged audiences.”

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