Small publishers and traditional media benefitting in 2022

2022 has not been the year many hoped for in the beginning. War in the Ukraine, supply chain issues, and energy price rises did throw a spanner into many plans. The ad market is surely no exception and the high growth expected had to be downgraded in the year-end reviews coming out now. There were some notable exceptions however as small publishers and traditional media were benefitting in the 2022 ad market climate.

Magna, the central planning unit of global advertising behemoth IPG Mediabrands published its year-end outlook a few days ago. It had some surprising findings. According to Magna’s analysis, the top 15 media suppliers’ share of the global ad marketplace actually contracted two percentage points in 2022 to 58% (and this is not just down to Elon Musk wrecking Twitter). Both, the share for the 3 largest advertising media channels as well as the share of the following 12 largest providers declined, although it does not show all in the chart due to rounding. In any case, it is remarkable as it is the first time that the concentration in the ad market paused!

Share Main media suppliers of the global ad spending
Share Main media suppliers of the global ad spending

Additionally, the gap between growth in digital channels and traditional advertising media was down to 6%. This is by far the lowest gap for more than 12 years, where digital was often more than 20% ahead in growth. It is the more surprising as many expected a much stronger push for digital media after the pandemic experience – and this was certainly true for 2020 and 2021.

It is a good sign that the advertising channels are diversifying again. Grown up years ago it still seems unthinkable to me that 3 media suppliers receive almost half of the global ad spending. Only a few years ago hundreds of newspaper, magazine or directory publishers, TV channels, radio stations, mailers and out-of-home agencies competed for their piece of the advertising pie – almost all only in their own territory. Advertising has the power to change people’s minds (otherwise there would not be so much money spent on it), therefore I feel that it is worrisome that so much spending is concentrated on so few players now. More publishers being supported now is good news for more diverse communities. There is some hope as well that spending on social media platforms promoting misinformation is channeled back into quality journalism.

I hope that small publishers and traditional media will not only benefitting in 2022, but that the tide is turning for a more healthy, balanced and diverse media landscape.

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