Borders Closed

Borders Closed, Population Declined - June 2021

Pearman Pulse


Borders Closed

As confirmed by the latest May 11 budget these factors are here due to Covid and we thought it would be interesting to review their effect on advertising spend.

Budget assumes borders closed until mid 2022. This has profound implications to the Travel & Tourism sector which naturally shackles the category. The A$5b cruise market is largely moribund, as only the minor domestic based vessel Cruise industry can operate. Although Australians will and are spending more on domestic travel, the advertising industry relies heavily on international travel.  Brands such as Flight Centre, Webjet, Helloworld, Scenic Tours and Luxury Escapes promote international travel and make up around 40% of all advertising spend in the Travel category.

The Travel sector has been within the top 5 SMI advertising categories for the last 7 years excluding FY20. In the last full pre-covid financial year, FY19,  Travel was the 3rd largest SMI category at $427m,  accounting for 6% of all Media expenditure. In FY19 it was also the 2nd largest growth category reflecting Australian’s travelling lifestyle.  At present, the travel category is around 60% down compared to pre covid. There is no reason to assume this will change until borders re-open for both Outbound and Inbound tourism. This equates to around 3.5% less Media expenditure which arguably cannot be replaced. $250 million temporarily gone impacts all media but Travel more heavily impacts Cinema, Newspapers & Magazines.

Population decline. The budget papers acknowledge Australia’s population by the end of 2022 will be more than 1 million down from the forecast in the FY20 budget. This is due to a combination of Migration, Seasonal Workers, & Students, all of which are pretty much closed for the next 15 months or more. The Budget papers say the net overseas migration will not return to positive until 2024/25, 4 years from now.  Australia’s economic growth for the past half decade or so has been largely fuelled by population growth and now we face the reverse (actual negative of near 100,000 ‘net overseas migration’ in FY21) . NSW and Victoria will be the hardest-hit states, losing 480,000 and 415,000 residents respectively, followed by Queensland (126,000). This will have an effect on and in the economy which directly affects client’s profitability and subsequently the advertising sector. For many Industries a large part of their growth is tied to the population growth. This will be hard to replace.

Debt. That four letter word. Australia now has substantial debt for both Government/s and Household. This was acknowledged in the Budget but played down on this occasion. It is definitely of concern that deficits are projected in until probably 2031/32

Australia, War years aside (WW1 + WW2),  has never been here before. Whilst a low interest rate regime is forecast out for around 5 years, interest rate rises on Australia’s mountain of debt pose a potential and realistic nasty problem.

Although household debt has seen a fall in our ‘Covid year’, there has been a long term climb and we are now in the top quartile of 22 advanced economies for household debt. When interest rates eventually rise it will have an effect on what consumers can or can’t afford to buy assuming many are at their lending limits.  Interestingly, the latest Retail Sales show Australians are spending like they’ve never done before.

Once the borders are open and the population rises things will be more positive although we will still have debt to be paid off.



A new Outdoor measurement system call ‘Move 2.0’ will launch in 2023 and although that’s a while away, it is the talk of Outdoor.

The present ‘Move’ tool was launched in 2012 and provides Reach and Frequency metrics for all major outdoor formats. It was a big innovation back in 2012 and was quickly followed by many static Outdoor sites being converted to Digital sites. Since 2012, the Outdoor industry’s advertising revenue has increased 40% ($650mil to $900+mil in 2019). The transition to Digital sites has no doubt been a major force for this increase however Move has also been a contributor. Move 2.0 is needed to keep up with the innovations within the Outdoor sector.

The issue is Move, in its current form, is missing one crucial element, Digital OOH. Digital screen advertising represents just over half (56%) of all industry revenue. The current methodology measures each panel as one static face, meaning that it does not take into account that most advertisers appearing on digital screens have a share of voice upwards of 1 in 6, reducing the audience ‘opportunity to see’ significantly. In addition, the audience data is currently only updated annually or on an ‘average typical week’. Consequently measurement does not account for seasonality or time of day and in turn how these factors influence both foot traffic and people movement. Your audience delivery for a campaign in the depths of winter vs the busy Christmas season will return the same result.

Move 2.0 will change this. It will model on Visibility Adjusted Contacts (VAC) opposed to Likelihood to See (LTS), as well as effective impact by reporting on the neuroscience of the contacts value. Move 2.0 will report on audience hourly, for 365 days of the year. It will survey metro and regional areas to have national market coverage and be able to distinguish between local residents and overseas travellers (hopefully by 2023 this data will be of value to us). The number of surveyed sign locations will increase from the current circa 70,000 to 100,000+.

No wonder it has taken some time to put together.  GPS and mobile data will play key roles in Move 2.0. The key data collection model will be a comprehensive Travel Survey using a GPS tracking device which will be validated by a daily movement diary both online and in app. This will provide detailed profiling and behavioural information. This survey will overlay several different data points from the transport network, ABS, mobile apps, location services, traffic counts, speed recovery, satellites and international visitor surveys to reach a combined activity and traffic based model that will calculate a more accurate Reach & Frequency.

2023 sounds like a long time to wait but will come around quickly and be a great measurement tool for the Outdoor industry.



Covid has significantly impacted our purchase and decision making behaviour mostly by the impossibility of accessing the products, brands and shopping experiences we were accustomed to.  One year later, cash seems to be dying and people are ever more confident in their e-commerce options.  Our Digital team’s advice for best practice e-commerce is;

Keep track of social listening platforms and your category search terms. This will ensure the right attributes of your products are portrayed as customers have become more adept at making quick determinations to validate a purchase decision. Some of the biggest rising trends in 2020 was a renewed love for Aussie made, craft and natural / organic products. Retailers who seized the opportunity and made these features easily accessible and prominent on their products and product descriptions saw a significant rise in demand and purchases.

Ensure value add. Promotions, discounts and added value are more important than ever.  With over 60% of Australian households impacted financially by Covid, consumers are more conscious about prices and offers. “Sales”, “discounts”, “free deliveries” and “free returns” have all seen a surge in searches and play an important role in swaying a customer decision in the online shopping options.

Make it easy, be the best option. With difficulty around product availability, consumers have become more adaptable and are ready to switch brands or products if it is not available when and where they need it.  On the other hand, product scarcity in 2020 will be considered and can accelerate purchase decisions. In these changing environments simple details such as updated contact details and opening hours, up to date product stock and availability such as social approval (testimonials, reviews etc.) can encourage or deter potential brand switchers or repeat purchasers.

Be consistent on every touchpoint. Covid has made consumers more keen for information, personalisation and immediacy through the rise in digital medium uses. They expect a consistent experience and have increasing demands regarding the number of touchpoints they want to be offered. Businesses that have not invested in developing an app or a functioning website and are not utilizing their first party data to enhance their customer experience are becoming less desirable.


As expected, the April21 figures are a whopping 39.7% up on April20 which was when the pandemic really began to affect advertising spend.  The month’s total was $584 million and although pleasing to see a YOY increase, it is still -8.3% lower than the April19 expenditure. In more good news, the SMI forward bookings for May21 are already 50.4% above that achieved in COVID-affected May 2020 (ex Digital).  Outdoor and Cinema are showing the most growth in the May & June months.

Not surprisingly, virtually all the Top 10 product categories had substantial increases. The only exception being Domestic Banks that had a -32.3% decrease compared to April20.  Perhaps they have enough business that they don’t need to advertise.  The big category increases included Gambling (up 157%), Restaurants (+77%), Food (+65%) and Government (+55%).  Interestingly Travel was up 221% but naturally off a very low base.

All the media had strong increases except for the Print category of Newspapers (-34.6%) and Magazines (-2.2%).  The Outdoor industry must be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel as advertising revenue was up 49% but still 30% down compared to April19.  Radio is faring better with a 38% increase and only 17% down on two years ago.  Television did very well with an additional $75m for the month and a 44.2% YOY increase. Television is line ball with their April19 figures. Digital had a 45.8% increase and compared to April19 the category is up 9%.


  1. The Queen’s actual birthday is 21st April 1926
  2. 21st June has the longest (in Nth Hemmisphere) & shortest (in Sth Hemisphere) daylight hours of the year
  3. The highest readership gains of any magazines are House & Garden +32.6% & Gardening Australia +34.5% (Morgan 12mths to Mar21)
  4. People currently alive represent about 7% of all people who have ever lived
  5. The coldest city on earth is Oymyakon, Russia with an average of -50
  6. Morgan says Australians are around 20% less likely to buy ‘Made In China’ vs a year ago

Podium of Hope - Tokyo Olympics - May 2021

Pearman Pulse


After the games were postponed in 2020, it seems this year’s much anticipated 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games will be going ahead, despite the concern of public health authorities.

Although Japan has managed the spread of the Virus better than its counter parts in most of Europe, in only the last few days Japan has yet again declared a state of emergency in some areas. Japan’s borders remain closed to international tourists and there are no signs they will open anytime soon, certainly not until after the Olympics. This means that all spectators will be limited to residents of Japan and over 4 million official tickets have been sold to date. There is still a strong possibility the athletes will be competing in empty stadiums. A stark difference to previous Olympics where the host nation reaps the economic benefits of the influx of tourism income.

For the thousands of athletes, federation officials, support staff and media travelling to Tokyo, the journey starts 14 days before they leave for Japan. They will have to monitor and report health updates on an app for two weeks before they leave and narrow down their list of close contacts, including coaches and teammates. These are the only people with whom they are meant to interact with while in Japan. If they pass their Covid test before departure and on arrival, they will not have to quarantine. Once the Games begin, athletes will be tested at least every four days.

The idea of this year’s Olympics is that it will be a springboard for a ‘podium of hope’, and move out of the Covid era towards some form of new normality. Seven Network will be taking the reigns as the exclusive broadcaster of this historic event beginning 23 July to 8 August. With hours of content across Seven and 7MATE, the coverage on the main channel will only be interrupted by Sunrise, The Chase and 6pm News (which will strongly benefit in ratings from the Olympics hype). One thing worth noting is that for most Australians there is only a 1-hour time zone difference, allowing for prime viewing and no real time constraints. This compares most closely to the Beijing 2008 Olympics where there was only a 2-hour time difference. Seven was the primary broadcaster, although they on-sold coverage of long form sports to SBS. The Opening Ceremony drew an average audience of 3.3mil viewers despite airing from 10pm-2am on a Friday evening. However, for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there was a vastly different and less convenient time difference of 13 hours, Network Seven still managed to hold a strong network share of 35% during the Olympic period. 9, 10, ABC and Foxtel almost equally split the remaining viewership.

To understand the magnitude of the return of the games, this year the Olympics will probably reach more people than the AFL Grand final for 17 days in a row. Skateboarding and surfing will reach more 16-24’s than YouTube in one month. Despite Network 7 paying $170 million for the broadcast rights of Rio and Tokyo Olympics, Channel 7 claim they will have 38% less ads to give advertisers greater share of voice and cut through. As a rough guide, clients are paying around $6-10million to be an Olympic sponsor on Seven. There are also packages that Channel 7 will put together to suit individual clients’ budgets.

This year’s Olympics will be unique for its Digital streaming capabilities allowing people to watch their sport of choice. Seven has stated that they will be delivering one billion streaming minutes: 3 times more than Rio 2016. Seven is anticipating a reach of 21 million Aussies (up from 17.5 million for Rio) across Broadcast and 8 million unique users through digital streams.

Audience projections will be predominantly based on Rio 2016, combined  with rolling weekly audience averages of Q2 surveys as the Olympics approach. Channel 7 is promoting it to be ‘the most accessible games ever’ and is predicting to see a “30% increase in light viewers, 100% engagement increase, p16-39 +170% Peak, +320% Off – Peak and will be holding audience viewing share for 16-17 hours a day”.

Both Nine and Ten will be business as usual throughout the Olympic period, continuing to broadcast Tentpole programming such as The Bachelor, Survivor, Beauty and the Geek and Ninja Warrior.

It will remain to be seen if indeed the event still goes ahead, nevertheless the 11,000 athletes, coaches, international federations, and media networks are still preparing for the most tightly controlled Olympics in modern history.


After an 8 year tussle, Morgan has once again been appointed (by the news Publishers) to oversee news readership measurement from 1st July.

Established in 1941, Roy Morgan has been producing Readership data since 1974 and was THE currency of the marketplace.. After 39 years measuring readership, a rival print readership currency from IPSOS (called EMMA) was appointed by the print publishers in 2013. In large part, this was due to simmering tensions and decade long feuds between some Newspaper Publishers and Morgan Research. If our memory serves correctly, this was the third or fourth serious attempt  to challenge Morgan readership survey (over the past 4 or 5 decades).

Morgan continued to produce their readership figures with large discrepancies between the two companies. EMMA’s readers per copy was 40% higher than Morgan’s (4.2 vs 3) and this naturally resulted in larger readership figures compared to what Morgan was producing. However the vast majority of Media Agencies and ARE Media (previously Bauer) continued to pay for and use the Morgan data. With very few entities paying for EMMA they had to be bankrolled (at some cost) by the publishers.

ThinkNewsBrands (Seven West, News & Nine) have finally thrown in the towel and awarded the contract to Morgan. ThinkNewsBrands must be keen to start afresh with Morgan as they have cut short the existing EMMA contract by 18 months.

EMMA had quite different survey methodology of rolling telephone and online surveys and fused the data with Nielson Online to achieve a ‘total readership’. Why would any Research firm or Media Organization do this one might ask: cost? We have firmly held the view it was distinctly inferior methodology to Morgan. The Nielsen contract has also been rescinded in favour of Morgan doing it all. Morgan is face to face, single source meaning questions are asked of the same individuals to receive a 360 degree view of the consumer. Single source and face to face research is the Gold Standard, the holy grail of research, but time consuming and therefore costly to collect.

ThinkNewsBrands have said, “We have listened to the industry and acknowledge the need to implement a single unified readership metric for Total News, produced by one entity rather than with multiple data sources. The move to a Total News metric brings clarity to the industry as all advertisers, agencies and publishers will now rely on one measurement, approved and used by all parties, enabling better campaign investment decisions through simplified media planning tools.”

The term ‘Total News’ is used to measure readership across the printed and online formats.  At this point, it doesn’t mean a lot to advertisers as the publishers sell print and digital advertising separately.

Morgan has won the readership battle however Morgan is considerably more than Readership. It is a 360 snapshot of Consumers total media habits. Plus the product consumption, plus their ownership of goods and services, plus their intention to purchase…plus, plus, plus.


One of COVID’s ‘media’ legacies is that it has continued to propel digital transformation and encouraged the emergence of CTV (Connected TV) and OTT (over-the-top) services. People are watching less linear TV to digitally stream content when and where they want.  In the last year, Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD) has grown 40%+ as people watch the free to air content on 7Plus, 9Now, 10Play, SBS On Demand, etc.

Connected TV refers to a television connected to the internet and can stream various forms of digital video content online, this includes Smart TV’s and standard TV’s connected to the internet through devices such as Chromecast, Roku or Gaming devices. As well as CTV this is done across numerous OTT services which deliver TV content over the internet that can be accessed from any internet capable app or device (i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc.).

The rise of CTV/OTT is opening up digital opportunities for video creative. With an increase in programmatic video, advertising on a Connected TV provides a great chance to reach increasingly engaged audiences with better targeting capabilities than Linear TV.  For Linear TV we buy a particular program because of the audience it reaches and mostly measure it in TARPS.  For streaming / BVOD we buy an audience on behavioural targeting as well as contextual.  It is mostly measured in thousands reached although measurement is also being done in TARPS to align TV and BVOD. The BVOD audience data is derived from people signing in to the various apps. Age and gender is immediately given however over time the publisher’s 1st party data grows as they learn about what customers consume within their ecosystem.  At this stage the most accurate targeting is coming from DSP 3rd party data through programmatic buys.

For BVOD viewing, 60% is watched on a TV, 15% on PCs/Laptops, 14% on tablets and 11% on mobiles. Unsurprisingly, BVOD viewing skews to the under 65 audience.

At present, the BVOD viewing experience varies greatly across the publishers with ad placements sometimes clunky and excessive frequency of the same ad in programs. So there still needs a lot of work to be done in that department.  On a positive note, there are far fewer ads on BVOD meaning the ads have a greater share of voice within the breaks. Sometimes there are only one or two ads in a break. Clients also do not need to have CAD numbers (ie. approval from anyone) to appear on BVOD.

It is estimated around 10-15% of Television budgets are going into BVOD and once the VOZ measurement system is in place, overall Reach & Frequency will be greatly enhanced.  Although BVOD spots are not time stamped (making ROI attribution difficult), BVOD continues to improve on all levels as the stations see the growing financial benefit to them.


The advertising spend through Media Agencies is no doubt beginning to show signs of improvement when compared to the Covid affected same time last year. March’21 had a total spend of $660 million which is a 2% improvement compared to March’20.  The figures for April will be at least a 20%+ increase on same time last year. We probably should not get too excited about huge gains as it is not often the ‘same time last year’ includes a once in a lifetime pandemic.  However, it is certainly great news that things are getting back to business as usual.

Similar to February spend, Government advertising spend continued to help March 2021 and was up 48% while In-Home Entertainment was up 71%. With a Jan-Mar increase of 31%, Alcoholic Beverages rounded out the top 3 category increases for the March quarter.  Retail is also showing signs of improvement (+13% in March) which is very important as Retail is the largest category along with Automotive Brands.

Digital had the strongest growth (+15.6%) with Social and Programmatic leading the way. Television once again had a strong 7.2% increase with Regional TV increasing by 13.7%.  Radio moved into positive territory for the first time in 21 months with a 0.2% increase. Outdoor was -24.6%, Newspapers -28.5%, Cinema -32.2% (half the decline of Feb’21) and Magazines -38.5%.


  1. On average, Sons spend $106 on Mothers’ Day while daughters spend $93
  2. The Australian Coat of Arms has a Kangaroo and Emu because they can't walk backwards
  3. “Mayday”: invented in the 1920s is a phonetic equivalent of the French m’aidez (‘help me”)
  4. The feeling of getting lost inside a mall is known as the Gruen transfer
  5. Last Week, the US broadcast of the NFL Player Draft (12.6 Million) outperformed the Academy Awards (9.85 Million) for the first time in history. In Short, the sports program with no sports beat the movie program with no movies.
  6. The Pringles can inventor (Fredric Baur) is buried in one. That’s dedication!

Pearman Pulse - April '21

Pearman Pulse


This month our very own media guru and resident Research and Strategy Director, Steve Allen, predicts how advertising spend will pan out over 2021. Steve spends a lot of time measuring and calculating the Media markets, not merely because it is the business sector we are in but far more importantly because it tells us and our Clients what market conditions they will face. Demand and supply cascade into pricing, which can be highly variable as Media change their selling and pricing policies constantly, based on both forecasts and demand (and/or fill)

2020 was a year of two halves from Media & Marketing perspectives. In the first half of 2020 Media Revenue was down 24% based on SMI figures, the biggest drop in 50+ years of tracking.  The second half decline was only a little over 7%. This, and more recent SMI data, points to Australian advertising spend recovering from Covid-19 far more rapidly than first expected. As is the case for the Australian economy and quicker than pretty much all westernised developed economies.

There is no doubt Government stimulus programs, particularly Job Keeper and Job Seeker, have played a very large role in this recovery and momentum.  On SMI figures, 2020 finished 15% down in Media Advertising revenue, well below many forecasts. Digital fared best and was just 2.5% down in 2020, while Television was next best / worst at -12%. All other media were down 20%+ with Cinema, Magazines & Outdoor getting smashed in 2020.

Steve forecasts 2021 SMI figures to be up 12% YOY which would still be around 5% below 2019 SMI estimates. To date in 2021 SMI has January -3.1%, February -2.6% and for March Steve estimates at +7% result.  Although Q1 is behind Steve’s 2021 forecast, in our dealings with the Media,  Q2 has definitely picked up strongly in many media sectors.

SMI is media agency expenditure and therefore does not include clients booking direct.  As a very rough guide, SMI covers around 50% of all spend and around 80% of most media’s advertising income however vastly under estimates Digital.  Due to the enormous long tail of bookings by smaller clients it is hard to determine what is spent on Google and Facebook.  Steve’s 2021 forecast for expenditure and share for the “entire market” is as follows;

Rank Media Ad spend Growth Share
1 Digital +5.5% 61%
2 Television +3.8% 22%
3 Radio +20.5% 7%
4 Outdoor +42.9% 5%
5 Newspapers -16.4% 3%
6 PayTV +4.2% 2%
7 Magazines +19.4% 1%
8 Cinema +120% >1%

The rest of the economy is already firing up. Economic recovery is strong, ahead of nearly all predictions, surprising on the upside with nearly every monthly release of  economic indicators; Employment, Retail Sales, On Line Sales, December HY trading and profit results, savings, Credit card debt etc.  This raft of performance indicators should be underpinning a much larger lift in Advertising support.

There is also a huge opportunity for clients to invest in advertising particularly if their competitors are not.  What better time to build market share if sales in your category are coming relatively easily?


The rise of the smart speakers (think Google home, Sonos, etc) and smart phones has well and truly buried the old transistor or large stereo in the corner of a lounge room. This all means audio streaming is moving ahead fast. Today 9.4 Million Australians are streaming audio and projections show this will increase to 80% of all Australians by 2024.

The Radio networks naturally want to capitalise on this streaming and offer listeners the freedom to consume Radio, Music and Podcasts at their time of choosing.  ARN launched their app (iHeart) back in 2013 and SCA has now just launched their ‘Listnr’ app.  Nova will also be launching their app soon.

The apps allow the networks to connect ad exposure to real world behaviours and quantify the impact that audio has on in store visitation. The apps mimic industry giants like Spotify and Apple Music by attempting to deliver a curated audio experience which combines radio, podcasts, music, and audio news under the one roof.

From a customer point of view, the apps are based around finding people’s interests and likes and making suggestions for them based off what they listen to. From a client point of view, it is about creating an environment where it can build rich first party data that will allow advertisers to reach audiences across a broad range of audio assets on one platform.

Upon registration users are asked to provide their personal details and nominate interests which will allow the advertiser to audience target based on age, gender, ethnicity, geographical location, and device.

At present, it is estimated that Radio streaming could add 5-10% reach to a traditional Radio buy.  So although it is still small numbers, it is growing and no doubt the Radio Networks see it as a way to capitalise on a digital future.


3rd party cookies are due to be phased out by 2022 and we can’t emphasise enough the importance of building your 1st party database. The future without 3rd party cookies is yet to be determined although many major publishers have released thoughts on what the new way to universally target unique consumers will look like in their eyes. At this stage, standpoints have varied and it is still the great unknown without a one size fits all solution. The three types of data for ad targeting across the internet of the future are;

Chrome privacy sandbox: Google’s solution is called the ‘Privacy Sandbox’. Google will generate audience segments where data is stored and processed in the Chrome browser. This will represent around 65% of the market. The data will be modelled with no user or device level data and is called FLoC also known as ‘Co-horts’. This is essentially fused data via machine learning on a group of individuals based on how they have behaved on sites and what content they have viewed. This is not built on an advertisers 1st party data, nor can you target individuals within a FLoC, you can use your data to determine which FLoC’s you want to reach.  This will deliver a large scale of audience but perhaps less accurate.

Publisher 1st party data: Major publishers (Nine, News, etc) are looking to use their 1st party cookies to build user level data comprising people based and anonymous device data.  The benefit the publishers have is their consumers sign in and are effectively giving permission to be tracked within their site.  This will be highly accurate and deliver a decent scale but not to the size of Google. The missing piece of this puzzle, is we currently don’t have a solution to cross-pollinate audiences across publishers. There has been much discussion on exactly how users will be uniquely identified across the open web. Will it be an exchange of hashed email addresses? Will it be a phone number? Will there be an opt-in?

Identity based solutions: A direct relationship between the user, publisher & advertiser. Eg. Advertiser meshes their 1st party data with the publisher, who also has a 1st part relationship with the end user. This mesh data can be IP address, email, phone number.

The common theme on these points, is both as a publisher and an advertiser, you will need robust 1st party data to continue to have targeted digital ads from Jan 2022. Especially if your current strategies rely heavily on third party cookies.

From a programmatic perspective, we believe targeted advertising, and, re-targeting capabilities across a collective of sites will still be possible once there is clarity on the unified ID and private exchange of information.

For now, on the face of it and combined with what we already know, the latest Google announcement does mean, as both an advertiser, and as a publisher, never has it been more important to invest time, energy, and resource, into strengthening your 1-1 customer relationship, and ultimately your 1st party data.


The media Agency market is heading in the right direction in February, reporting a -2.6% year-on-year decline to $557.9 million.  However, given the huge declines in advertising spend from March–September 2020, there is little doubt that the next 6 months of SMI data will show positive year-on-year growth. It is also highly likely that FY21 will finish as a positive as it is now only back -5.8%.  April-June 2020 were the months most affected by the Covid downturn.

Government advertising spend continued to help February 2021 and was up 60% while In-Home Entertainment was up 69%. Clearly the home related sectors have benefitted from these difficult times. But the overall recovery story was strongly underpinned by a small 0.1% year-on-year increase in Automotive Brand ad spend, it’s first in more than a year. It is promising to see positive movement in what was once the largest spending category

Television delivered the strongest growth (+8.6%) led by Metropolitan TV (+12%) which was buoyed by the delayed Australian Open broadcast. In comparison, Digital ad spend lifted just 1.2% this month and – like the broader market – also reported patchy demand with strong growth in ad spend to Social Media (+12.3%) and Video Sites (+12.7%). But the value of bookings to the largest sector of Search fell 8.4%.  Patchy demand was also evident in Outdoor with the largest Posters/Billboards sector growing 9.1% and Retail Outdoor +1.2%. But Outdoor’s recovery is being hindered by large declines in bookings to the Aviation, Transit and Street Furniture sectors. Radio was down (-10.8%), Newspapers -23.4%, Magazines -48.2% and Cinema -70%.


  1. The Sydney Royal Easter Show was first held in 1823 and is Australia's largest annual ticketed event
  2. house values surged by 2.8% in March – the fastest pace in 32 years!
  3. 4 million Australians viewed SVOD in an average week in Dec’20
  4. 9 billion people watched Prince Harry marry Megan Markle, 49.1 million watched their tell all with Oprah
  5. Today (7th April) is ‘National no housework day’ – put your feet up!

Pearman Pulse March 2021

Pearman Pulse



With Summer coming to an end it got us thinking about how the seasons affect the advertising markets.  Everyone concentrates on the quarters of the financial year (understandably) but we thought it could be interesting to analyse the media by season.  What effect does Summer, Winter, etc have on advertising spend, media consumption and opportunities for clients?
The financial controllers at agencies and media companies ought to feel happy to see the back of Summer.  Without doubt, Summer is the worst season for advertising expenditure. On average, over the past 8 years, the advertising spend in Summer has been at least half a billion dollars less than each of the other seasons.   Winter usually has 40% more advertising spend than Summer while Autumn and Spring have around 20-25% more.
In terms of media consumption, the seasons, along with school holidays, have varying effects on the media. Magazine sales peak in Summer as people have time off to relax and enjoy their favourite magazines. While for Television, the Summer ratings are around 10% lower than other seasons and peak in the winter months. Without the Tennis and Cricket the ratings would probably be lower.  The way Radio is surveyed, with 8 surveys rolling into one another, makes it difficult to determine listening by season.  However, the Radio stars invariably take Summer off and less people travel to work suggesting  it is reasonable to assume Breakfast and Drive sessions have their lowest ratings in Summer.  Newspaper readership and Digital consumption is relatively consistent across all the seasons.  Summer’s longer daylight hours and warmer weather gives Outdoor a 5-10% lift in media consumption compared to other seasons while Cinema consumption peaks by 40% around school holidays. Summer is again Cinema’s highest season with Boxing Day doubling their usual audience.
As Summer has the lowest advertising spend, and therefore demand, it delivers the greatest opportunities for advertisers.  A huge opportunity is the ability to boost Share Of Voice substantially and take market share from competitors that leave the market momentarily.  In most media the rates are reduced well beyond any audience decrease to entice spend. Simply put, Summer usually represents the lowest cost to reach one thousand people in virtually all targets. So it is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to Summer. We know more advertising dollars will be spent in Autumn but also know the deals won’t be as good in the following seasons.


QR code stands for Quick Response code and was first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. We all thought the QR code was long gone especially as we had to download a specific app to use it.  However the combination of technology advancements and Covid has given the QR code a new lease of life.  In 2017, Apple’s update allowed QR codes to be scanned directly through the camera app and now the latest Android smartphones have made QR scanning a native feature.  With thanks to Covid, we now constantly use a QR code every time we enter a shop, restaurant or government business. It is second nature.
We are now seeing QR codes used in advertising once again. Using today’s papers as a guide, around 20% of ads have a QR code. The Outdoor companies are also seeing a lot more demand for it on their street furniture.
A QR Code can be linked to an image, video, landing page, and websites for various purposes. Although they are predominantly black and white, QR Codes can be customized to change background colours and add a logo.


A lot has been written about the squabble between the Australian Government vs Google / Facebook however things do seem to be moving in the right direction.
Google have been proactive before the governments bill is passed and have struck deals with multiple publishers. Most notably with Seven West Media announced to be worth $30 Million as well as Nine reported to be worth $30 million, this has yet to be formally confirmed by the publisher. ABC has also been included with the code, but the amount is yet to be disclosed. More details of the deals will be released after they are finalised within 30 days.  Although the total cash amount of these deals hasn’t been disclosed to the public, Google has set aside $1 billion dollars for worldwide deals over the next 3 years. In addition to the major news organisations, Google have also struck deals with the leading regional and independent publishers under their “News Showcase”  tab on the Google News app.
After a clumsy reaction to the bill, Facebook has now stated that letters of intent have been signed with 3 independent news organisations Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice media. It will be interesting to see if Facebook add a news tab to their site, similar to marketplace.
There are a few theories as to why the Government is introducing the bill such as protecting the traditional news companies or reducing the power of the tech giants.  Whatever the reason, it is interestingly reported that for every $100 million of online advertising, $53 million goes to Google, $28 million to Facebook and $19 million to everyone else.


The January SMI figures are the first time in four months we have had a negative YOY result. January advertising spend was -7.3% compared to January 2020. Moving the Australian Open broadcast from January to February is considered a major reason for the decline. The 2020 January figure was back 8.2% compared to Jan’19 which included the Australian Open so all things considered, this January is not such a bad month. The general feeling is advertising spending recovery is continuing. 

Government advertising spend was a big contributor to January 2021 and was up 56% while Home Furnishings was up 30%. Domestic Banks were down 33% which is probably because they are inundated with customers refinancing their home loans or looking for new loans.  Travel was down 55% and Auto was down 17%.

The biggest news from the January spend is that it was the first time Digital achieved the highest spend of all media and was up 1.8% YOY.  It pushed TV off the podium by a few million dollars.  TV was down (-2.6%).  Radio had a comparatively reasonable month of late only being down -4.6%. Outdoor was -24.6%, Newspapers -33.5%, Magazines -47.8% and Cinema -66.7%. The Regional TV and Regional Radio sectors performed well and grew ad spend by 3.3% and 9.3% respectively. While Retail Outdoor led the Outdoor recovery with a 21.3% lift in ad revenue.


  1. St Patrick was born in Great Britain and originally the colour was blue
  2. Television in Australia started in 1956 (B&W), colour TV came in 1975
  3. Something beneficial from Covid, crime in Australia is down 5% YOY (ABS)  
  4. The oldest verified person lived to 122 years, 164 days – a French woman
  5. It is estimated 1.2 million feral camels live in the middle of Australia
  6. Perhaps because Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth


Pearman Pulse - February 2021


There is no doubt we live in strange times and perhaps one of the more intriguing by-products of this is the effect it is having on Regional Australia. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows some 11,200 people relocated from the nation's capital cities to regional areas in the September quarter, the biggest quarterly movement out of metropolitan Australia on record. In the June quarter, the capital cities had a net loss of 10,500 people to regional areas which was the previous largest net quarterly move on record and more than double the average observed over the last decade. Job vacancies across regional Australia also hit a record high of 54,000 in October, up 7.4% on September, and a 13% increase from a year ago.
Interestingly, overseas migration makes up an enormous proportion of the capital cities annual population growth. At last count, overseas migration made up 93% of Adelaide’s annual growth, 85% of Sydney’s and 70% of Melbourne’s. Assuming overseas migration is unlikely to happen in the next year or so, capital cities are going to struggle to show any growth while regional Australia seems to be having a population boom.
Now that WFH is becoming a thing, it seems many people are making the sea change, particularly in areas of 1-3 hours away from a capital city. So much so that house prices in regional Australia have risen at a higher annual rate than in capital cities for the first time in more than 15 years. Regional prices grew almost 7%, more than three times the capital city growth of 2%.
From an advertisers perspective, regionals deliver a number of enticing facts such as having 5 of the 10 biggest online shopping postcodes in Australia. Or that the NT has a median income 20% more than the capital cities or Queensland has 51% of it population in the regional markets. The regionals also have more disposable income due to the lower cost of living.
Looking at the SMI data, Regional TV has stayed at around 14% of all National TV ad spend for the last 10 years.  Regional Radio has fared better growing its share of all National Radio spend from 16% in 2010 to 23% in 2020.  The closure of many regional papers in July last year has definitely helped the regional radio stations gain more advertising dollars.
However, only around 10% of advertising budgets are spent in the regional markets even though 36% of the country live in those regions.  These figures obviously look disproportionate although the cost to reach people in the regional markets is generally somewhat cheaper than reaching people in a capital city. As an example, if it costs $100 to reach a thousand people on Metro TV, it only costs $40-$60 to reach a thousand people on Regional TV.  Even with this TV cost efficiency, the regionals still underperform for their share of advertising dollars. Unfortunately the lower cost (with arguably greater impact) is not enough to lift regionals up the ‘priority spend’ criteria.  Advertising budgets are invariably prioritised to the larger markets which is usually to support distribution / store fronts. With ecommerce ever increasing for clients, this could change although for large products requiring truck delivery the cost of distribution can become problematic.
Our advice is to have an open mind about regionals especially as it is absolutely on trend at the moment!


Channel 7’s latest ‘golf’ show, Holey Moley, (think a cross between Ninja Warrior and It’s A Knockout), launched on Monday night. It was a successful launch with 1.58 million viewers nationally and easily beat MAFS and the Amazing Race that were aired at the same time.
The commentating combination of Matt Shirvington and Rob Riggle (US comedian) has great chemistry and ensures the program is not taken too seriously. How could it be when contestants are set alight or have Agro abuse them whilst they are trying to putt a golf ball. 
Initially it was going to be filmed in the US with the AFL commentator, Brian Taylor, and more air time for Greg Norman. However Covid shut that plan down and it is now filmed at Thornlands in the city of Redland, Queensland.  As this is an international format, the set can now be used by other countries for their local productions.
The show is running for 13 episodes and is presently the number 1 show for People 16-39. Last night’s ratings were around 40% down from the launch so it will be interesting to see how it rates next week.


Apple started the cookieless future back in 2017 through the introduction of the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) on its default ‘Safari’ browser. This was the start of advertisers or websites being unable to follow you around the internet with specific ads.  Now Apple’s latest software upgrade (iOS 14) introduces the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) request permission from users to allow applications on your device to collect & share data/tracking signals to advertisers.

This limits the data that Facebook and websites now have to track consumers making it harder to track and understand collected data. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalisation and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.  Facebook won’t be able to tell us who converted from their platform and the apps / websites won’t know the age, gender, placement or location of the people who have landed on their site.
‘Real time’ reporting is no longer on those devices and data may take up to 3 days to be collected meaning we can’t make quick changes or optimisations. 
We used to have the 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through and seven-day view-through but this will no longer be available. Attribution allows us to see the actions a user takes after clicking on an ad and prior to converting. The window of actions we could previously collect data on was 28-days prior to the conversion, but this update minimizes the attribution to a 7-day attribution window.
In the meantime, if you would like to read more on Facebook’s changes  here. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team to discuss how we can help you navigate the changes with your business.


December SMI continues the good news of October & November as it is another positive (+2%) compared to the same time last year. This means the Oct-Dec’20 quarter is up 5.3% or an extra $100 million has been spent on advertising compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019. However, it should also be noted that 2020 is -15% down compared to 2019.  For the first time since 2009, the SMI figure is below $7 billion with the 2020-year total sitting at $6.24 billion.

The categories that greatly affected 2020 were Travel and Auto and between them there was close to half a billion dollars less advertising spent in 2020.  Advertising spend on Gambling was also down $50 million.  The categories that gave 2020 some hope and had double digit growth were Healthcare, Technology and Food.

The big winners of the Oct-Dec’20 quarter are Digital (+18.3%) and TV (+15.7%).  Radio has recovered somewhat but was still -3.9% down for the quarter.  For 2020, Digital escaped with the least pain being down -2.5% for the year.  TV was -12%, Radio -22.7%, Newspapers -26.4%, Outdoor -38.4%, Magazines -42.4% and Cinema -67.9%. 


  1. Valentine's Day is believed to have its roots in an ancient Pagan festival
  2. 52% of the world’s population are under 30 years of age!
  3. New Zealanders have more pets per household than any other country
  4. Chocolate comes from a fruit tree; it’s made from a seed
  5. 2020 US Presidential & Congressional candidates spent a staggering $14bn
  6. 63% of Australians would like to be able to lose weight

Pearman Pulse - December 2020


Broadcast Video On Demand (aka BVOD) is the most important growth area for Television Networks for both viewers and advertising revenue. As any business owner will tell you, it is essential to have multiple income streams and BVOD definitely gives the Networks an additional income stream.
BVOD is when you are watching a program online in your own time of choosing. It can be watched either live (via live streaming) or on-demand and is available on a computer, mobile device or connected TV.  As opposed to the ‘FTA TV’ (Free To Air) viewing received via an aerial, satellite or cable, i.e. any TV that is not viewed over the internet.
There is no doubt BVOD viewing is going to continue to increase as consumers expect to view what they want when they want and internet connected TV usage continues to grow.  Presently around 80% of Australians have a connected TV.
For the Networks, the digital connection ensures BVOD delivers far deeper audience data and effectively allows them to charge more for that audience. The BVOD audience is usually 2-3 times more expensive than a FTA TV audience based on a cost per thousand. While FTA TV is bought on an estimated audience, BVOD is bought on a per thousand targeted served or viewed impressions.  BVOD also allows the Networks to compete in the digital landscape by selling the airtime “Programmatically” as well as on a direct buy. When buying programmatically we can also follow an audience across networks and platforms.
PwC estimates the 2020 BVOD advertising revenue will be around $200 million or 6% of the FTA TV revenue of $3 billion. There is definitely room for the BVOD revenue to grow as long as consumption grows.
The BVOD audience varies enormously from program to program and is not going to be popular for all programs such as News, ACA or The Project.  BVOD tends to be popular for the “tent pole” 7-8.30pm programs. Some of the larger BVOD audiences of late include 129,000 for SAS and 106,000 for Home & Away.  These figures represent 12% of their FTA TV audience.  Around half the BVOD viewing is on connected TVs, 14% on a mobile and the rest (36%) is shared between a PC/Laptop and a tablet.
So, why would an advertiser want to pay 2-3 times more for an audience? Like all advertising, the value is in the impact an advertisement creates.  As they say, not all impacts are equal and, in this case, a BVOD impact is greater than a FTA impact for the following reasons;

  • it is “lean in” viewing – FTA tends to be “lean back”
  • viewing device & specific program choice means greater engagement
  • 75-100% are completed views, FTA does not have completed view data
  • research says BVOD has twice the recall of FTA

Roy Morgan Research claims 80% of people watched FTA TV in last 7 days and 27% watched BVOD in the last 7 days.  With BVOD delivering record ratings and revenue to the Networks those percentages are likely to be getting closer together.  Perhaps the most telling figure that BVOD has a bright future is the audience heavily skews younger with 52% being under 39 whilst only 26% of FTA TV’s audience are under 39.


The Jul-Sep20 Roy Morgan readership figures for Newspapers and Magazines have been released recently.  Guess what – print readership is up! The big winners are the Sunday newspapers that are up a massive 22% in readership compare to a year ago. Interestingly they are also up 11% when comparing Sep20 quarter to Jun20 quarter.  In other words, Covid to Covid.  Across Australia, this translates to an additional 650,000 people reading the physical Sunday papers from a year ago. 
The Weekend Australian and Saturday’s Financial Review have also had huge readership increases with around 260,000 additional people reading those papers. Across the nation, Mon-Fri newspaper readership is up around 5% except for Melbourne which has been  affected by their lockdown.
Unfortunately printed Magazine readership didn’t do as well on a year on year comparison. However, from quarter to quarter, there were a number of successes in double digit readership increases.  They include Womans Day, Marie Claire, Vogue, Elle, Frankie and Belle. Interestingly, in the midst of Covid Australians have turned to home improvements (Bunnings Mag is up 30.5%), cooking (Gourmet Traveller is up 64%), world events (Time is up 36%) and looking after their finances (Money is up 55%).


Firstly, what is Omnichannel retailing and why is it crucial for brands?
Every brand wants each individual customer to have a seamless experience and relevant messaging throughout their sales journey. An omnichannel customer experience is made up of individual customer touch points, over a variety of channels that seamlessly connect, allowing customers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another. An omni-channel experience accounts for each platform (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc)  and device (desktop, mobile, tablet, Apple Watch, etc) a customer will use to interact with the company. That knowledge is then used to deliver an integrated experience.
A good example is knowing a customer shops at a certain location and if a product is out of stock in that location you would not serve them an ad for that product.  Or if a customer buys a particular product on a regular basis you would map out the appropriate time and creative to serve them an ad.
In a “multi-channel” environment (what most businesses invest in today), the customer has access to a variety of communication options that aren’t necessarily synchronized or connected. 
Research shows customers that have had an Omnichannel retail experience are more loyal (up to 20% increase in return shopping trips) and more likely to recommend your brand to friends and family. In effect, they spend more!
Organising Omnichannel marketing will require working closely with several departments (Product, Marketing, Sales, Customer support, etc) in your company.  The following is a good place to start;

  • Collecting customer data: conduct brand studies, surveys, listen to social media comments and encourage customer feedback.
  • Reviewing current interactions with customers: offering your clients multiple ways to shop and get in touch with you (website, social media, chat, in-person, call centre, app, sms, email etc…)
  • Define a primary objective for each channel: research, shopping, interaction, feedback and make your experience optimal for the purpose you have chosen
  • Review your tech stack and (most likely) invest in the right technology: select tools and platforms that can connect to each other easily and seamlessly.
  • Cascade your learning cross-channel and have an always on test and learn process

While the transition from single channel to multi-channel towards omni-channel isn’t easy, 2020 has seen many businesses embracing the change. There is no doubt that 2021 will only increase customer demand towards greater centricity and personalisation.


The October advertising spend figures are looking good at just 4.8% decline year on year. We appreciate declines are not great however this is the lowest decline in advertising spend since September 2019. Looking into November and December, SMI is suggesting that November could become the first positive month of advertising spend in two years.

The categories that greatly helped October were the Food/Produce/Dairy (+42% YOY) and the Alcoholic Beverages (+47%) categories.  No doubt moving the AFL and NRL finals into October encouraged those two categories to increase their spends. ‘Retail’ spend was also up 7% presumably the start of the pre-Christmas spend. Metro TV was the stand-out performer with a $32.6 million (15.7%) increase. Again, the sports finals would be a big factor in this. Digital was next best at -0.4% with the Social sites having a massive 45.5% increase whilst Programmatic reduced by -28.2%. Programmatic trading has eaten into Content Site bookings for many years, and now SMI suggests the trend seems to be reversing with the ongoing decline in Programmatic now seeing the value of Programmatic spend fall below that of Content Sites.  Radio was down -17.1%, Newspapers -25.4%, Outdoor -46.5%, Magazines -51.5% and Cinema -91.3%.


  1. QR code (Quick Response) was invented in 1994 for the Japanese auto industry
  2. ‘X’ in Xmas is from the first letter of Christ in the Greek language (Χριστός)
  3. Patent for ‘barcodes’ was granted in 1952, borrowing elements from Morse code and movie soundtrack technologies
  4. Only 2% of the world’s population has green eyes
  5. Australian Domestic travel intentions have dropped 23% to 7.7million (Morgan Sep20)
  6. Each year, Australians spend approx. $400m on ‘un wanted gifts’ and most ends up in landfill

Everyone at Pearman wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Pearman Pulse - November 2020


 WARNING – blatant promotion of independent advertising agencies to follow. 

The ‘Independent’ advertising sector is doing very well at present and in the media space we are told the share of advertising billings has grown substantially to 20-25% of the ad pie. The Independent Media Agencies Australia (IMAA) celebrates 9 months on the 19th November and has already had its 50th member join.  We know there are around 800 people working within those 50 members.
That got us thinking, how many people work in independent advertising agencies in Australia?  We estimate there are around 300+ independent media companies in Australia across full service (all media) and specialized (e.g. digital) categories.  The independent creative advertising agencies would likely number a great deal more as there are few cost barriers in starting a creative company. Let’s assume there are 800+ creative agencies in Australia and that all the media and creative agencies range in staff from 1 to 100+ people.  We also looked at IBISWorld who estimates the total Advertising Agency sector in Australia has 8,127 businesses and employs 16,600 people.  An educated estimate has around 3,500 people working in independent advertising agencies in Australia.  Or 20% of the industry based on IBISWorld figures.
So, why does independence matter? Perhaps we are biased but we think the big three reasons are 1. Stability, 2. Being Australian owned and 3. Being Flexible & Decisive.
Stability is a huge benefit to the staff and clients of independent agencies. There is no doubt the advertising industry is somewhat ageist and the independent agencies clearly employ most of the highly experienced people within the Australian advertising sector. The tenure of employment is also longer at independents giving the industry the stability it greatly needs.  Clients benefit from staff stability on their business and the accumulated knowledge of what works and what does not.  Interestingly, the ‘average’ time in business of the 50 IMAA members is 15 years.  Independent agencies also tend to have multiple clients and less reliance on one client with many dedicated staff. When that large client moves, the employees are invariably the first casualties.
Being Australian owned ensures major benefits in supporting the local economy.  Primarily, the taxes and profits stay in Australia as well as the jobs. Independent Agencies are more likely to ensure jobs go to Australian citizens as opposed to flying people in from overseas.
The independent agency’s lack of corporate structure and hierarchy delivers flexibility and speed in decision making. The only boundary an independent agency has are the ones that are self-inflicted. Independent Agencies are not governed by a faceless CFO based in London, Paris, New York or Beijing and therefore do not need to ask permission to get things done. For Independent Media agencies the flexibility also ensures they tend to be more accessible for the media vendors.
Next year may be the Year Of The Ox but we’re hoping 2021 will be the Year Of The Independent.  Here endeth the advertisement.  


October was a month for most of the TV Networks to show us what they have install for 2021.
TEN: Get the gold star for the most entertaining upfronts. Using the Wizard of Oz theme to reinforce their major shows will be filmed in Australia (‘coming home to Oz’ - get it). Survivor, Amazing Race and I’m A Celebrity will all be fimed in Australia for 2021. Network 10’s new programs include ‘Making It’ (think home handyman on steroids), ‘The Dog House’ (dog owners meeting their new four legged babies) and ‘First Inventers’ (ancient Indigenous innovations and discoveries). 10’s ViacomCBS influence can be seen with their streaming platform, ‘All Access’, now becoming ‘Paramount+’ and in terms of data they promoted their Viacom insights.

NETWORK SEVEN: Stated they were the network most affected by Covid but expect programing to be back on track in 2021.  Hoping for a hole in one with their new putt putt golf obstacle course called ‘Holey Moley’ which will appear early in the new year.  The Tokyo Olympics is due to start on 23rd July and will be followed by 10th season of The Voice (yes, they nabbed it from Nine). Their other new programs include ‘Ultimate Tag’ (a game of chase like you’ve never seen before), ‘RFDS’ (outback Aussie medical drama) and ‘Australian Gangster’ (a drama). Their Sport includes Cricket, AFL, the Olympics (inc. Beijing Winter in Feb 2022) and Supercars are back on 7. Their data is called ‘7RedIQ’ and claims to know more about their viewers what they do, think & feel.

FOXTEL:  Was probably the most down to earth upfronts with lots of arm chair chats that included Shane Warne and Nicole Kidman. Their CEO, Patrick Delany, was particularly brave giving us a live demo of Foxtel’s ‘voice control’ where we’ll be able to ask the TV to change channels. It didn’t quite go to plan but he handled it well.  In 2021, Foxtel are introducing a free version of Kayo (Freemium Kayo) which is effectively a watered down version of the paid for Kayo.  Foxtel’s ‘Binge’ service, competing against Netflix & Stan, expects Nicole Kidman’s latest series, The Undoing, to be a big success for them. They also suggested ‘The End’ and ‘The Flight Attendant’ will be popular viewing.
For data, Foxtel said their competitors rely on panel data and inference while their data is “second by second real time actions across 2.5m devices”. Foxtel’s data is called Foxtel Xplore.


Friday 27th November, note the date in your calendar, as this day now marks a bigger sales day than the traditional Boxing Day in Australia. Originating in 1869 and celebrated on the Friday following Thanksgiving in the US, Black Friday signifies the start of the Christmas shopping season, it has now evolved into a global retail phenomenon. But the bargain does not end there, directly following Black Friday is Cyber Monday. This event started in 2005 and is the online equivalent of Black Friday sales focussing on deals through online retailers. In 2019 Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a 34% year-on-year growth in Australian online purchases whilst Covid has increased ecommerce in Australia by 30%+ over the last 6 months.  So, to quote a literary great, Tina Turner, we can expect these upcoming sales to be Simply the Best. According to the US Business Insider, Black Friday sales favour the more expensive, high-end items and Cyber Monday skews towards gadgets and gifts. A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed that Black Friday in 2019 was the biggest sales day in Amazon Australia’s history. So, what does this mean for you? If you are looking to buy any big-ticket items, get ahead on your Christmas shopping or simply splurge that overseas holiday savings, then set the alarm for Friday 27th November. The sales this year are said to not disappoint with electronics in particular alleged to offer very attractive price-cuts. Our advice would be to do your homework as good deals get snatched up quickly.  Remember to read the fine print because not all deals are good ones and if you’re an understanding employer don’t be too harsh on any sick days around these dates.


The September SMI figures are -24.3% compared to the same time last year.  This looks somewhat worse than August’s -14.4% but realistically September has been greatly affected by the AFL and NRL finals being moved to October.  If those finals were in September we would expect the Sept SMI figures to be similar to August (circa 15 to 18% down). So, it is fair to say, advertising spend seems to be continuing to recover.  This is particularly the case when we know the October figures are looking to be down by low single figures and November is looking better again. If you’ve tried to buy TV in December lately you will know how well the TV stations are doing due to the lack of available airtime.  
  Digital media was once again the best performing sector and only down -2.7%. Similar to last month, the Social sites (+43%) and Pure Play Video (+15%) were the best performing in Digital. TV was down -19%, Radio -27%, Newspapers -46%, Magazines -56% and Outdoor -62%. Unfortunately, Cinema is still in the worst position being down 90%. Within the major categories, Auto (-41%) and Gambling (-24%) had the biggest declines in activity while Government (+30%) continued its spending increase.


  1. Australians bet an average of around $90 on the Melbourne Cup race
  2. GlobalWebIndex suggests the average daily time spent on social media is 142 minutes a day
  3. Since June, the number of businesses entering into administration increased 11% in September, while defaults have grown 23%
  4. Global digital ad spending is predicted to be $375+ billion in 2021 (emarketer)
  5. On average, people move house every 7 years
  6. 9.8% of Australian’s smoke (Roy Morgan), in 2017 ABS said it was 13.8%

Coles will soon be selling $259 recycled iPhones

Pearman Pulse - October 2020


Given around 40-50% of every advertising dollar is spent online, the impending ‘cookie-less’ world (14 months from now) is a substantial issue facing the industry.  A ‘cookie’ is a small piece of data stored on the user's computer by the web browser when a user visits a website.  We all use browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc, etc) to navigate the World Wide Web and each time we go to a website the browser keeps that information stored.  Up until now, cookies have played a major role in digital targeting, measurement and strategy.
Technically there are 1st party cookies which are set by site publishers once you visit and then there are 3rd party cookies which is what is being phased out.  The 3rd party cookies are valuable as they keep track of a user’s history across the entire internet.  The 1st party cookies track users across the publishers own sites and not where else they go.
Losing the 3rd party cookies, without an alternative, means advertisers will find it more difficult to;

  • retarget consumers once they’ve left their website
  • have information on users interests outside their own website
  • attribute ROI outside of the website the user clicked on
  • prospect customers across display and video activity
  • determine reach & frequency or use frequency caps

3rd party cookies have already been limited on the Safari  browser (default for Apple) and Firefox. The Chrome browser representing 50%+ of all internet traffic, will follow and progressively block cookies on its users between now and 2022. Impressions, clicks & views will still be accurate but won’t deliver the same insights. For example, 5,000 weekly impressions could be 5 impressions to 1,000 people or 1,000 impressions to 5 people. For ‘Clicks’, the only attribution modelling you could do would be based on ‘last click’ attribution. Last clicks have been proven to have very low to no correlation with ad effectiveness for nearly 20 years.  The race is now on to find an alternative to tracking behaviour on the internet.
Perhaps the biggest reason an alternative will be found is it is financially advantageous to Publishers.  Simply put, a Publisher can charge 4 times as much for a targeted / specific audience (measured by 3rd party cookies) than it can for a unmeasured ‘thousand impacts’. 
As you can imagine numerous digital players are currently working on a solution to prepare for a cookie less world. The Trade Desk is partnering with IAB, NAI and ANA to list a few in replacing cookies by another form of unified ID across the web.  The Trade Desk is proposing consumers log into websites using their email and at the same time set their privacy preferences. These email addresses are then hashed and encrypted and will replace the cookie with a new common language for the ad tech industry. This ID Encryption Service will help provide a layer of security, accountability and consumer control that cookies presently don’t provide. The tracking effectively moves from browsers and onto people’s email & device ID. The diagram below best explains The Trade Desk’s proposal.  

If you want to understand more about the implications of a cookie less world, the following link from the IAB Australia is an informative read.


Ch10 launched the latest free to air TV station on Sunday 27th September and it’s called ‘10 Shake’.  It is Ten’s 3rd digital station (after 10 Peach & 10 Bold) while Seven has 3 ‘digi’ stations (7mate, 7two, 7Flix) and Nine has 4 (9Go!, 9Gem, 9Life & 9Rush).
This new station has its origins in the CBS purchase of Ch10.  CBS (now ViacomCBS) owns MTV, Nickelodeon & Nick Jnr and Ten has recently been selling advertising on those stations even though they appear on the Foxtel platform.  Network 10 has the highest percentage of an ‘under 50’ audience (42%) and they say 10 Shake completes their Under 50 dominance.
10 Shake daytime programs will be for kids (SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Dora The Explorer, etc) while night time will be focussed on “big kids” (Teen Mom Australia, Comedy Central Roasts, Drunk History US, Lip Sync Battle, etc). 
As kids programs attract very little advertising dollars it’s reasonable to ask why start a station dedicated to kids?  Perhaps this is just a good way to launch 10’s fourth station with content that comes very cheaply for them and reinforces their youth appeal.    


Although online shopping was steadily increasing before Covid-19, the effect of Covid has been far more widespread than anyone could have predicted. As bricks and mortar stores were closed, Australian ecommerce boomed with 5.1 million households shopping online in the month of April.  Year on year, ecommerce has increased over 80%.  In 2019, 1.6 million households bought something online each week while in April 2020 that figure rose to 2.5 million households each week. By the end of 2020, ecommerce is estimated to account for 15% of the total retail market (excl. cafes, restaurants & take away).
The early adopters of online shopping primarily wanted cheaper goods although the post Covid online shopper could represent the rise of the convenience shopper, less price conscious and keener on customer service. They want it to be hassle free and for the items to arrive quickly. The unprecedented rise in recent months has shifted consumer behaviour to a stronger reliance on technology to undertake everyday activities, as well as a change in Brand Loyalty as many customers in lockdown were forced to buy through necessity rather than preference. The rise of the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ services has also played its part by providing consumers with more affordable ways of purchasing online items. Interestingly the time of day for online sales has been spread out a bit more since Covid although the 7-10pm and 2-5pm areas still make up 50% of all the purchase times.   
Retailers have the unique opportunity of capturing this ever increasing online shopper if they can set up efficiently for ecommerce. A growing consumer base with an increased confidence in online shopping is now available, making this a perfect time to introduce ecommerce into your business if you haven’t done so already.


As they say, everything is relative in life.  Although the August advertising spend is down by 17.2%, it is being touted as a good result despite it being the 5th worst result since 2007 when SMI started,.  Probably because the 4 largest declines of all time occurred in the previous 4 months (Apr-Jul’20).  Therefore, August is seen as the media agency market continuing to recover after Covid wreaked havoc on client’s advertising spend. 
The Digital media reported the most resilient result with bookings back just 4.7% as both the Social Media (+30.6%) and Pure Play Video Sites (+28.7%) sectors delivered strong growth. TV also reported a solid result (-11%) with the Metropolitan TV market delivering the smallest YOY decline of 10.7%. The recovery is underscored by the fact that more than a quarter of all SMI Product Categories reported higher media investment in August. Supermarkets, Health Insurance, Government, Health Care, Household Cleaning Products and Smartphones all delivered double digit growth, while Bank Brand/Sponsorship lifted 8%.


  1. It is impossible to break an egg held end to end with one hand.
  2. Ch7 have re-secured FTA TV rights for Supercars for 2021–2025 after a 6 year break
  3. The top 1% of the world now owns 50.1% of the world's wealth
  4. Black Friday (27/11) and Cyber Monday (30/11) saw a 34% year-on-year growth in online purchases in Australia in 2019
  5. Queen Elizabeth II is a trained truck mechanic and driver
  6. Aug’20 Retail spend is up 7.1% compared to Aug’19 (ABS)

Pearman Pulse - September 2020


This week Facebook came out swinging (in the NY Times) against the ACCC’s draft code in what is looking to become quite a fight with the Australian Government. 
In a nutshell, the code will force Google & Facebook to pay Australian media companies (predominantly News Ltd & Nine) for using their news stories. Although this is local, it is seen as a test case for the world and has the potential to be adopted globally which is probably why Facebook announced their response in New York. Remember Australia leading the way with plain packaging cigarettes? As you would expect, there is an enormous amount of dollars at stake and potentially intellectual property for the tech companies. The consultation with the stakeholders finished last Friday so the next step is the release of final ACCC code.  Facebook said it will stop the sharing of local and international news on Facebook & Instagram while Google says it won’t be able to guarantee relevant articles on Google Search & YouTube.
Back to what’s at stake?  News Ltd have said it is worth $1 billion however Google is talking about a $10 million figure.  Only a $990 million difference in opinion!  Presently the code gets each party to enter negotiations and nominate a dollar figure for what they believe the news content is worth.  After 3 months of negotiations, each party submits a bid figure and an arbitration panel selects one of those figures that both parties must abide with. This makes it dangerous for either party to shoot too high or too low as they could potentially drive the panel to select the other’s bid.  After 3 months of discussions and negotiations we assume the difference will be smaller than $990 million.
As a mechanism to resolve a dispute, the code looks to be quite clever however perhaps the real question is why is it being proposed.  The ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, said “there is a fundamental bargaining power imbalance between news media businesses and the major digital platforms, partly because news businesses have no option but to deal with the platforms, and have had little ability to negotiate over payment for their content or other issues”.  The tech giants say they are a benefit to the companies as they send traffic to the news sites (2.3 billion clicks sent to Australian news sites from Jan-May 2020). While the news companies say the clicks are worthless as there is no data behind them and they can’t be sold to advertisers. So that still leaves the question of how much benefit is Google and Facebook gaining from the news stories.  Only about 4% of Facebook’s News Feed is actually “news,” as opposed to posts from family and friends, while Google doesn’t monetize Google News and says that only about 1% of searches in Australia have anything to do with current events.
The code only targets Google & Facebook (no mention of LinkedIn or Twitter) and for Australian media companies it excludes the ABC & SBS and any small companies with less than $150,000 revenue.  The code also requires the tech giants to share algorithm changes and details on user data with the news companies. While the arbitration panel is told it must consider the direct and indirect benefits (whether monetary or otherwise) to Google & Facebook.  That does seem to be quite a vague way of determining ‘value’.  
There is no doubt the news companies have suffered since the ’rivers of gold’ classifieds, job ads and car sales migrated to the internet and it is good to see Government trying to ‘balance the power’.  The news stories on Facebook and Google do enhance the consumer experience and deliver more data to the tech companies however the question around how they monetise that is highly contentious. This will be fascinating to see how it plays out and who comes up with the bigger knife.


Covid greatly affected the media from April – June 2020 and therefore they had little demand and lots of supply.  A great time to be buying advertising … if you were fortunate enough to be in that position. In addition to that, most of the media, except Outdoor and Cinema, had increased consumption which again made it a very opportune time to get tremendous advertising exposure.
Looking at the latest SMI figures it is clear to see increasing advertising spend across most media. In particular, Television and Digital are in a substantially better positions than they were in May.  Television’s demand has grown around 50% from May meaning their ‘availabilities’ have dwindled and it is now difficult to buy short term.   TV buys now need to be done 4-5 weeks out to get the programs you want.  Digital is somewhat less clear to see the ‘Covid’ benefits as much of it is auction based and ‘supply’ never seems to be too much of an issue.  The ‘direct’ buys with particular websites have seen some good deals.
The Oct-Dec run up to Christmas period is invariably in high demand and even in this Covid year we expect that to continue.  There are absolutely still great opportunities to be had however they are possibly more likely to be in Radio, Outdoor, Cinema and Print where supply & demand works in favour of the advertiser.


Samba TV ( is a global technology company gathering TV viewership from users that voluntarily opt-in on their smart TVs (via the settings). They have deals with many TV brands including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips and have access to 35 million smart TV sets in the US and globally.  The adoption is increasing in Australia with around 100,000 TV sets to date. 
The exciting news is that Samba TV has recently partnered with 2 programmatic leaders, The Trade Desk and MiQ, to allow advertisers to target an audience across multiple screens (TV, desktop, mobile, etc). This allows advertisers to follow an audience across linear TV, streaming services, Foxtel and video programmatic activity.  This presents opportunities for media planning as we will be able to control the frequency / exposure of the advertising across multiple screens.  Samba also determines exactly what has appeared on the screens so we could also target an audience that has specifically seen competitors advertising.
For marketers, this unlocks unprecedented access and bridges the gap between digital and offline screen targeting further.
So why would anyone want to opt-in to Samba TV?  The main attraction resides in the personalisation of their TV viewership allowing them to get tailored program recommendations (similar to Netflix).
In the months to come (Q4 2020 TBC), the targeting options will increase with the ability to target users based on specific program viewership or their watching behaviour (light viewers, tv bingers etc.).
The long awaited promise of fluid offline and online screen integration is getting closer!


The latest SMI data is moderately good news as it is the lowest decline (-28.4%) since March. At this stage, the month of August is also looking better again.  The 12mth year on year comparison shows the Australian ad spend is down-16.2%.

July was an improvement for Radio (-29%) but unfortunately Outdoor continued to have the highest decline at -66%.  TV (-23%) and Digital (-16%) continued to improve their advertising income as did Newspapers at -38% and Magazines at -60%.  Despite Cinemas opening again in July the ad revenue was slow to follow although the closure of Victoria did not do them any favours.  On a positive note, Cinema has a lot of ‘blockbusters’ to cram into their schedule between now and Christmas.  ‘Reail’ is the second largest category and the good news is it is beginning to stabilise and was only down -3.8% compared to July’19.  The bad news is that the largest category, Auto, was down the most at -52%.  Perhaps the stockpiling of toilet rolls has run out as ‘Toiletries / Cosmetics’ was up +21% and of course the Government continued to increase their spend with a +38% increase


  1. Australians spend about $1.36 billion on Mother’s Day and $660 million on Father’s Day
  2. Every adult human contains 1-4 kg of bacteria – we may need bigger face masks
  3. 85% of SMB’s had an average fall in revenue of 42% comparing Jan-Jun’20 to Jan-Jun’19. (AANA survey)
  4. On average, your heart has beaten 400 times in the 5 minutes it has taken you to read Pearman Pulse
  5. In the last 4 weeks, 19 million Australians have gone to Google and 17.5 million to Facebook (Morgan Mar20)
  6. Two-thirds of all US $100 bills are held outside the USA

Pearman Pulse - August 2020


It is no secret that the print media has suffered horrendously since Digital rolled into town however the last three months has been particularly bad for them. Perhaps it was always heading this way and Covid simply fast tracked the inevitable. 

In late May, News announced it was closing the printed editions of over 100 Suburban and Regional papers to move them to Digital only editions and 14 were simply closed.  These closures represent around 20% of all newspapers in Australia. Printed newspapers have been struggling for some time with advertising revenue through agencies more than halved over the last 5 years from $550 million to $250 million per year.  At least Newspapers seem to have been recouping around 60% of the lost print advertising through their digital advertising sales. They are also gaining income from digital subscriptions and have the benefit of being backed by some of the biggest media players – Murdoch, Stokes & Nine. The recent ACCC rulings for the big tech companies to pay for news content should also be a bonus for newspapers.

Magazines have possibly been in a more vulnerable position than newspapers as they coped with the Digital onslaught, competition from newspapers introducing lifestyle / magazine sections and (in hindsight) not choosing the right digital strategy. The Magazine sector’s advertising revenue has been hit harder than newspapers as 5 years ago it was around $147 million and today its $64 million.  That is about the same amount that James Packer paid for his unit in Barangaroo (wonder what Kerry would think).  The fallout from all of this was seen last month as Bauer Media (now owned by Mercury Capital) closed 8 magazines - Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Men's Health, Women's Health, InStyle, Good Health, NW and OK. They also moved Girlfriend to a digital only title. Many of these magazines had expensive global licenses attached to them which would have contributed to their demise.  Even though it seems there was consumer demand for the 8 deleted magazines (they were read by around 1.2 million people), clearly they were not able to be profitable. With the benefit of history, we can see that Bauer’s decision not to use the heritage of their magazines mastheads for digital editions may not have been a good move as they wrapped up all their mastheads into and 

All these deceased print publications have left many clients searching for ways to effectively reach their targets.  The suburban papers serviced an important local market for clients who want to reach a specific geographic target. While burying those magazines has left a big gap for Fashion and Health related clients.   

Hopefully, this ‘rationalisation’ will put both the Newspaper and Magazine sectors into a healthier situation so that they can prove there is an afterlife.


In the free to air TV world, supremacy and bragging rights are fought out in ‘Peak’ night time of 6pm-10:30pm. A mere 31.5 hours of content weekly. However 10.5 hours are already spoken for with News and Current Affairs (with Network 10 a little different). The crucial 7.30-9:30pm period is what the networks concentrate on to compete with ratings and stem the leak of FTA viewers to Streaming services.  Live sport takes up some of this but then it is over to the ‘tent pole’ programs to bring home the bacon!

This year it has been interesting seeing the Seven Network resurrect old formats.  First came the 12th season of Big Brother that had previously been on TEN for 8 seasons (2001-2008) and Nine for 3 seasons (2012-2015). Surprisingly its revival on Seven seems to have been a success with ratings 10% above the last season and attracting younger demographics for Seven.  Something Seven had struggled to achieve at 7:30pm.  We know it has worked as Seven has now renewed it for another series next year. The next big test is the revival of The Farmer Wants A Wife. Nine ran 8 episodes between 2007-2012 and then had another crack at it in 2016.  After 9 marriages and 20 babies, Seven has just started airing the 10th episode. The initial ratings look like it could be a success as they are 20% above the 2016 ratings.


You may have heard that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement encouraged a July Facebook boycott by a number of large clients (Coca Cola, Unilever, Starbucks, Honda, etc).  The idea was to put financial pressure on Facebook to stop displaying hateful content. At the time some media had headlines saying this would “slash Facebooks advertising spend” and that it had cost Mark Zuckerberg $72 billion (due to a drop in share price).  As good intentioned as the protest may have been, the ‘hurt’ has definitely not lived up to the headlines. 

Facebook’s share price today is 13% higher than it was in early May 2020 or put another way, its market capital grew by $75 billion in 3 months. The company’s ad sales in the first three weeks of July also grew 10% year on year.  Facebook’s monthly active users were also up 12% year-on-year to 2.7 billion. With much of the world in lockdown at home it is no wonder consumption of their platform has increased. Interestingly Black Lives Matter has a Facebook page with close to 700,000 followers and many would have been active in July.

The protest has drawn attention to the real strength of Facebook which is its massive long tail of businesses all contributing to its $70 billion annual revenue.  98% of that is from advertising.  Facebook has millions of advertisers with small to medium sized businesses making up 76% of all its advertising revenue.  It is estimated around 1100 companies joined the boycott which effectively became a symbolic gesture.

Facebook’s real threats are twofold. 1) Politicians thinking they have too much power and 2) a potentially ageing customer base.

Facebook (as well as Google, Apple & Amazon) have recently had the US Congress accusing them of using their market power to crush competitors and distort the political debate.  In Australia, last week the ACCC released a draft code forcing Facebook and Google into a negotiate-arbitrate model to compel them to fairly pay Australian media companies (mostly News & Nine) for the use of news content on digital platforms. Of course, the biggest threat to Facebook could be that Generation Z does not want to see their parents on the same social platform as themselves.


The latest SMI figures for FY20 show the worst year ever for media advertising spend as it is down by more than $1 billion dollars compared to FY19.  Although June’20 bookings were down 35.7% compared to June’19 it could be viewed as positive as they were expected to be 40%+ down. June is also an improvement on the April and May figures. SMI also has insight into forward bookings and they are showing an improving market. Overall, FY20 was a 14.7% decline compared to FY19. The Sydney agencies had the lowest decline of the 5 capital cities.

Outdoor continued to have the highest decline of any media at -66% for the month. Magazines were close behind at -62% and Newspapers were -47%. Radio improved a bit from May being down -43%%.  While Television was down -34% and Digital -20%.  For FY20 the only major product categories showing any growth compared to FY19 were Insurance at +5.3% and Domestic Banks at +0.4%. The two biggest categories of Retail and Automotive Brands were down -13.3% and -23% respectively


  1. A dry, square piece of paper cannot be folded in half more than 7x
  2. The tongue of a blue whale can weigh as much as an elephant.
  3. Germany does not punish a prisoner who tries to escape jail - it is a basic human instinct to be free.
  4. Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day.
  5. Richard Gere’s middle name is “Tiffany”