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The ever-changing landscape of advertising

IPG MEDIABRANDS Thailand recently produced a biannual “Media Scene” report that encompasses the changing dynamics of the Kingdom’s population and rapidly evolving ecosystem of its media.

Khanokkhan Prajongsangsri, managing director of the investment and knowledge arm of the local IPG outfit, reported that despite the nation facing an increasingly ageing population, the term “old” had somewhat been redefined. Half of the respondents to a global online survey conducted for the Nielsen Media Index stated that “old” starts at 70 years of age.
Even though there was an increase of 3 per cent in the number of Thai households to 24 million last year, the average number of members per family has decreased to 2.8, down almost 50 per cent compared with 25 years ago. Hence the rise in the number of smaller condominium units being sold.
The elderly population (those who are 60 years old and above) has reached 15 per cent of the total and the figure is projected to be 25 per cent by 2030.
Aside from the social implications of this shift in the population make-up, marketers should look out for opportunities in the changing mindsets of smaller nuclear families and longer-living individuals.
This has already been reflected by the overwhelming surge in insurance ads directed at senior citizens on Thai TV regarding retirement and private pension funds.
When you examine the overall picture of the Thai population, people are generally adopting a more hedonistic approach to life. This is a product of delaying marriages, opting for fewer children and focusing much more on the “self”, thereby reaping the benefits of relatively more freedom that was once viewed as a luxury in previous generations.
Last year was a modest one for the advertising industry as it achieved only 2.8-per-cent growth, but that was better than the slump of 2.4 per cent in 2014. This year growth is expected at 3.5 per cent, with projected gross spending of Bt141 billion.
Of that total sum, online ad spending will again instigate growth, continuing to experience a remarkable double-digit surge, as it has done in previous years, with its total market contribution projected to touch 10 per cent for the first time.
I recently attended a forum on future trends hosted by the Thailand Marketing Research Society, with many prominent figures in the marketing sector giving their deep insights into the digital behaviour of Thais today.
One notable shift in the mindset of today’s marketers is that digital-media spending will no longer serve as a peripheral or experimental chunk of any given campaign’s ad-media mix, but will instead contribute significantly in driving brand engagement throughout the digital ecosystem.
The Digital Advertising Association of Thailand (DAAT) has forecast ad spending on the Internet to grow by 23 per cent, whereas Nielsen’s projection is significantly higher at 36 per cent.
The Internet’s major contribution has already been experienced in the first quarter of this year with a surge of 23 per cent compared with the same period last year, grossing just over Bt2.2 billion.
Without too much of a surprise, the growth in digital spending is fundamentally driven by only two major players, Facebook and Google, creating a formidable duopoly on digital platforms. As per DAAT’s forecast figures, the two tech giants will represent 78 per cent of total contributions to digital ad spending this year.
Surprisingly, the Line and Instagram platforms still represent less than 3 per cent of total digital ad spending, despite their popularity.
On average, Thais active on the Internet spend 2.77 hours on Facebook each day, with another 2.19 hours on YouTube. No wonder we don’t get things done at work.
Beyond these impressive digital-media results, television is having a difficult time staying buoyant, with a total decrease in ad spending of 12 per cent during the first quarter. Not even the traditional powerhouse Channels 3 and 7 were spared, contributing to a total decrease of 13 per cent in traditional TV-channel advertising spends.
This is reflective of the slowdown in the economy experienced of late, displaying the direct correlation between the economy and ad spending.
Overall, the first quarter faced an unprecedented decrease of 8 per cent in total industry advertising spends.
Unilever, a giant Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, slashed its spending by a startling 40 per cent, significantly contributing to a slump in total advertising spends across the media spectra.
It’s not all doom and gloom in the market. To provide some light at the end of the tunnel, I shall impart to you some hope to look forward to. You may have heard it all before about millennials and how they will be the ones that help shape the future. There is also another rising star in the house to complement millennials, namely Generation Z.
Gen Zs have the highest TV, Internet and mobile Internet penetration (98, 84 and 83 per cent respectively) among all demographic groups.
I have divulged some basic information in this article. But if you would like to indulge in the full comprehensive report, drop me an e-mail at the address below, and it can help you better understand the Thai media landscape.

Pradon Sirakovit is associate director for corporate communications, IPG Mediabrands Thailand. E-mail:[email protected].

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