Media spending to outgrow rest of UK economy

BRITISH media spending will grow at a much faster rate than the rest of the economy over the next few years, driven by a booming internet sector, according to new research.

A report from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), published this morning, forecasts that spending on advertising, communications and entertainment will rise by four per cent a year in the next four years, reaching £65.5bn by 2017. This will see the UK maintain its place as one of the world’s most lucrative advertising markets.

Internet driving media spend upwards

PwC said the biggest driver of growth will be internet advertising, where the UK is the largest market in Europe. Spending on online advertising is due to rise at an annual 9.9 per cent, while the next biggest growth area will be internet access – the amount consumers pay to go online.

This will rise at 9.3 per cent a year as people shell out for 4G mobile contracts and fibre broadband.

“Across the world, consumers’ access to entertainment and media content and experiences is being driven to new heights by our ever increasing access to the internet and the explosive growth in ownership of smart devices,” PwC’s head of UK entertainment and media, Phil Stokes, said.

Stokes highlighted other growth areas such as spending on video games and “out of home” adverts – such as those on billboards and on the sides of buses. Out of home advertising is expected to rise six per cent a year, with the UK overtaking France as Europe’s biggest market in 2015.

The predictions also came as good news for newspaper and magazine publishers. Although PwC forecast that print advertising would continue to fall, the rates of decline are set to be far less steep than seen over the last few years.

The internet boom will not lead to declines in other sectors, Stokes said, with radio and TV advertising also set to increase.