Harvey Norman & Retailers Top Ad Spenders
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Newspapers are dead, long live the newspaper. As online continues to surge in popularity, leading media outlets in the country have reported a slide in ad revenue. But is online to blame?

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Last month APN said advertising by retailers was down 5 per cent while Fairfax estimates the fall to be around the same of between 4-5 per cent.

However, some of the leading retailers have refuted the notion they are cutting ad spend, including Woolworths and Myer.

Nielsen ‘Company’s Top Media Advertisers’ just released also supports this assertion.

Its report for 2010 has indicated the advertising industry is in robust health, showing “a strong rebound in ad spending to an estimated $10 billion plus.” In total advertising  surged 10% over 2009 figures. Retailers in total spent a whopping $218bn on ads in 2010 – more than any other industry. 

Some of the nation’s top ad spends by retailer were, Wesfarmers Limited, owners of Coles, Woolworths ($166M +18%) and Harvey Norman ($145M +7%).

Telstra, Sintel, owners of Optus as well as Vodafone Hutchison Australia were also among the big spenders on ad space in Australia.

So, if ad spend appears to be up, but media houses say its down, does this mean companies are looking at different outlets to advertise in, outside of print and display, the most obvious being online?

Not exactly.

The “patchy results” recently reported by Fairfax and others is possibly due to the recent devastating floods and cyclone damage, consumer caution over escalating prices, and the proposed carbon trading levy.

“The levels of growth across most of 2010 have certainly slowed in 2011; albeit reflecting that media activity has returned to business as usual pre GFC trends,” Nielsen said yesterday.


TV in particular showed growth surge accounting for 40% of all media expenditure to almost $4m last year, as did press and radio, all top outlets advertisers aimed at. Online ads, however, also showed a strong surge from $448m in 2009 to $512m last year and looks set for a further windfall.

According to one PR Manager, online advertising is now perceived by clients as more valuable than print.

However, “bigger clients are spending just as much on ad space as there’s less competition.” However, print ads seems to be on the wane among smaller operators.

“I know online, in general, is more valued, particularly on social media.”

More media are trying to extract ads from our agency so that would imply ads aren’t selling, according to the source. 

“Small businesses are seeing the value that $3,000 in PR can buy them, compared to a half page ad in a weekly mag.”


Online retail sales is estimated at $12 billion in 2010 and expected to reach $18 billion by 2014 worldwide.