Deflation grips UK TV pricing in 2023 – ECI MM inflation update

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ECI Media Management has released its Q4 Media Inflation Update, revealing that in the UK, TV pricing has fallen overall in 2023, hitting 2% deflation.

In 2021 and 2022, TV in the UK experienced significant inflation following a sharp dip during the pandemic.

However, looking back on 2023 it is clear that UK TV spend is now significantly down on previous years, due to a sharper than anticipated drop in TV network revenue and year-on-year decrease in viewership.

Deflation led by macro factors

The picture for media pricing globally as 2023 draws to a close is muted. The looming threat of recession and the globally resonant conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East are likely to have had an impact on business confidence worldwide as 2023 comes to an end.

In the UK, Online Video spend remains higher than Display, resulting in marginally higher inflation, while Print remains deflationary.

Meanwhile, in the US both TV and Print media remain deflationary, whilst all other media hold inflationary positions, with Online Video seeing the highest level of inflation.

The end of the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes in the US, and the promise of major political and world sporting events throughout 2024, are likely to lead to greater media investment throughout the year in many markets.

Some advertisers may even be holding back spend at the end of 2023 in anticipation of these opportunities to drive higher reach in 2024.

2024 is set to be the biggest year for general elections in history, with more than half of the world’s population heading to the polls. Elections drive up media pricing thanks to large investments, benefitting local media in particular.

It is also a big year for sporting events, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Paris and the men’s UEFA European Soccer Championships in Germany.

Fredrik Kinge, Global CEO, ECI Media Management, said: “Following a couple of years of relatively high inflation, UK TV is now forecast to end 2023 with deflation of 2%.

“TV in the UK is a particularly volatile medium as it responds immediately to variations in actual spend.

“The deflation of TV pricing in the UK echoes US TV, which has also fallen into deflationary territory over the course of 2023, driven in large part by the impact on production by the writers’ and actors’ strikes.

“2023 has been a quiet year overall for media pricing globally. It’s likely that many global advertisers are holding back spend as the year comes to an end so that they can invest around the major political and sporting events of 2024 which, while likely more expensive, will allow for greater reach.

“In these times of economic volatility, it’s more important than ever to have timely, accurate information on which to base media investment decisions.

“At ECI Media Management we can help advertisers leverage changes taking place in the media landscape to help them drive higher value from their media investments.”

As of 2023, ECI Media Management has started publishing quarterly updates to its annual Media Inflation Report, providing forecasts for 10 key markets globally – the US, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, South Korea, Australia and Mexico.