This Year Next Year: Ireland 2021 Mid-Year Forecast


By now, the Irish ad market has returned to growth after the free-fall that began in late March last year, so, in this edition of This Year, Next Year we are able to take a far more optimistic view in our forecasts. Midway through 2021, it has become apparent that the market is growing much faster than we expected and from a larger base than we previously believed.

We now estimate that in 2020 the advertising market declined by just under 5% and we’re now anticipating 6-7% growth this year. For reference, during 2008, the global financial crisis produced an 11% decline and took 5 years to return to growth.

Most notable among the broad consumer trends rapidly accelerated by the realities of the pandemic, are the expansion of the app ecosystem, increasing consumer adoption of e-commerce and the growing role of cross-border media marketplaces – spend placed outside of Ireland with pan-European or Global platforms and networks but that targets Irish consumers.  These factors are most tangibly causing growth in Digital media in Ireland to accelerate far faster than any other medium and has led us to forecast 11.6% growth for all forms of pureplay Digital media versus 8% at the time of our December update.

Television is now expected to grow by 4.6% in 2021, a dis-improvement from our prior 8% expectation. Beyond this year we expect low single growth for the broadly-defined medium, including what we call Connected TV+. As they invest further in their streaming platforms, Connected TV+ will also continue to grow. We estimate that Connected TV+ inventory will account for over €18m in Irish media company ad revenue, up by 10% over 2020 levels.

Other areas considered in detail:

  • Audio advertising: Forecasting a 2% growth rather than December’s 8% level; however, this revision is the result of updating 2020’s performance to only a 7% decline following a stronger than anticipated final quarter.
  • Print advertising: We expect Print, including Newspapers and Magazines, to continue to decline on an ongoing basis. Newspapers will decline by more than 20% in 2021 and then continue to fall by 5% on average from 2022 through 2026. Magazines will follow a similar trend over the next five years.
  • OOH advertising: Outdoor advertising should fare much better, growing by 14% in 2021 and then growing by a further 19% in 2022.
  • Cinema advertising: We expect Cinema advertising to partially recover this year but struggle to ever return to 2019 levels as film studios have fundamentally shifted their model and will prioritize development of content for streaming services rather than for cinemas. This would have the effect of reducing audience levels over time.