Irish ad market forecast to grow less than 1% in 2019

Brexit impact will be ‘more negative than positive’, media agency group says

Advertising buyers in GroupM expect the Irish ad market to grow less than 1 per cent next year, as the shadow of Brexit and its uncertain toll on marketing budgets lingers over the media.

"We simply don't know what the full extent of this will be, but undoubtedly the impact will be more negative than positive," said Bill Kinlay, GroupM's chief executive in Ireland.

The media agency group revised down its expectations for 2018 from a decline of 0.4 per cent to a decline of 0.8 per cent. It forecasts that 2019 will see the market grow 0.7 per cent to €736 million.

With media consumption habits “being completely turned upside down”, next year’s growth will be almost entirely due to ongoing expansion in online advertising.


Television advertising revenues are forecast to grow only 1.7 per cent next year after estimated growth of 2.3 per cent in 2018 – a year in which retailers, bankers and consumer goods companies increased their campaign budgets, but spending by car and telecoms firms dropped.

It will be the fourth consecutive year of decline for the Irish radio sector in 2019, if GroupM’s forecasts prove correct. It expects radio advertising to contract 4.8 per cent next year after a 5.7 per cent drop in 2018.

Print declines

But the starkest falls are reserved for print. Newspaper advertising revenues will drop by 11 per cent in 2019, GroupM predicts, coming on top of an estimated 12 per cent decline in 2018 and an 11 per cent contraction in 2017.

Magazines are expected to fare a little better, with a decline of 4.7 per cent next year after a 3.9 per cent retreat in 2018 – a year that saw two titles, the Irish Studio-owned U and Irish Tatler Man, stop printing.

Better fortunes are pencilled in for out-of-home advertising, which is forecast to see growth of 3.5 per cent next year after an estimated 3 per cent bump in 2018, while cinema advertising will also secure a modest uplift.

GroupM is owned by the world's largest advertising company, WPP. In Ireland, it is the holding company for Mindshare, MediaCom and Wavemaker with billings in more than €170 million and a staff of 168.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics