Opportunity lost: ASA unable to release annual industry turnover data

1:55 PM, 21 April 2016

No data

Why isn't the data being released?

For the last 20 years, the ASA has provided an annual breakdown of ad spend figures, documenting how the various channels performed over the course of the year. The turnover statistics, collected directly from media, included data from television, newspapers, interactive, radio, magazines, outdoor, addressed and unaddressed mail, and cinema.

Yet, this year, the ASA media members have found the process much more complex and fragmented, prompting a decision by the ASA to not release the data.

"In a world where many media companies are operating across platforms, a sector breakdown of media revenue has become more complex," explained ASA chief executive Hilary Souter. ANZA understands this decision results from some media organisations being unable to agree how digital ad expenditure is reported and the risk of then double-counting. Given the cross-platform nature of media and the multiplicity of channels this has provided challenges -- but they should not be insurmountable.

Why do we need the data?

The annual industry turnover data provides an insightful snapshot of the economic importance of the advertising sector. We are an industry under increasing regulatory threat, globally and locally, but we are also an industry of nearly $2.5b with a substantial multiplier effect, which generates growth, provides jobs and underpins a competitive, innovative market.

To not have a single reputable measure of sector expenditure in an industry of our scale is not a good look.

Who is to blame?

No one would suggest that industry data collection was core business for the ASA; they have simply facilitated a service for many years at no cost. No blame lies with the ASA.

These issues, however, were addressed 12 months ago when the segmentation of ad data was reviewed and a revised reporting mechanism was set in place. It seems extraordinary this solution hasn't survived the year. It would be unfortunate to lose this valuable industry data set because of competitive tension.

ANZA is encouraging media representatives to reconsider their approach and provide a sustainable approach to data collection, for the benefit of the wider industry.

Should media have a responsibility to ensure we have aggregated industry statistics? All feedback, queries, and opinions are welcomed to lindsay@anza.co.nz

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