Advertisers continue shift in spending to digital media

Wannee Ruttanaphon

THAILAND - Spending on print advertising continues to decline this year as companies shift their marketing budgets to digital media.

The Media Agency Association of Thailand (MAAT) suggests that all publishers develop multimedia platforms to expand their audience base and minimise losses in the near future.

In the first half of this year, advertising expenditures for newspapers dropped by 3.34 per cent to Bt7.19 billion (S$290 million) from Bt7.45 billion in the same half of last year, while magazines saw a slight decline of 0.15 per cent to Bt2.59 billion from Bt2.6 billion, according to Nielsen (Thailand).

Print media's share of ad spending also continued to fall - to 12.94 per cent for newspapers from 13.57 per cent and to 4.67 per cent for magazines from 4.74 per cent.

MAAT president Wannee Ruttanaphon said many advertisers opted to use more effective channels such as online search engines, community websites, blogs and social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LINE.

In the first six months, advertising via the Internet jumped 52.63 per cent to Bt435 million from Bt285 million.

The new platforms with high potential are mobile applications, social media, radio, cable and satellite TV or even the upcoming digital terrestrial TV.

Wannee, who also is chairwoman of IPG Mediabrands, said that with these integrated media, publishers could reach and engage with a larger audience, rather than rely on their traditional channels.

For example, several leading newspapers recently launched special features like Nation Multimedia Group's iSnap and Daily News' News Flash on their mobile applications to offer more services such as photo galleries and videos related to news articles in the print version. This not only attracts young readers but also new income.

"Though the new stream of income from new media remains limited for media owners, it is nicer to have more diverse media platforms on hand to help minimise possible business losses in years to come," she said.

Siwat Chawareewong, chairman of the Digital Advertising Association (Thailand) and chief executive of mInteraction, a leading digital media agency, said using online video content also helped marketers and media owners attract young people. Digital technology has an important influence on customer behaviour, he said.