Agency observers pessimistic about recovery


There are basically two prevailing views about the economy among media types according to a new survey – those that think that while it’s better it has certainly not recovered, and those that do not think the recovery is really started yet. When will it? The prevailing sentiment is Q2 2010. The survey was an online poll by Media Life Magazine of its readers.

Only 12% think the recession is ending; 41% think things have started getting a little better but the recession is not ending; and another 41% or so think that not only is the recession not ending, there are precious few signs things are getting better, either.

About a third say consumer behavior hasn’t changed in six months, that they are still cautious and wary. But 30% think they are slightly more positive.

Half have not seen any improvement in revenue at their agency in the past six months; but 30% have benefitted from signing on new clients or getting increased spending out of existing clients.

Recovery timing prognostication breaks down like this: Q3-09: 3%; Q4-09 17%; Q1-10 12%; Q2-10 41%; Q2-10 14%; and Q4-10 3%. 10% said there won’t be a recovery until sometime in 2011. A return to pre-recession spending levels is expected to trail the recovery by as much as a year or so.

Now for the rough stuff: which media will recover first. Most – 33% — said the internet; broadcast TV did OK at 28%; cable pulled 21% and outdoor 11%. Way back in the money line were radio and magazine with 3% each. And newspaper was not mentioned in this part of the article.

In an open-ended, pick more than one-answer question, about 18% or readers thought there would be little change in media buying habits once the recession is over, with companies reverting to their old habits. But 67% thought there would be a shift to cheaper and more accountable options; 45% said more big city newspapers are going to fold; and 20% said media conglomerates are going to start to break up.

RBR/TVBR observation: We are generally leery of unscientific polls like this, but we were interested in these results nonetheless – they seem totally reasonable given the situation at hand. The perceptions of which media will be first to bounce back must be particularly chilling to folks in the newspaper business.