Asian Media: Bull Markets of the East

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 11 November 2005 12:00AM

From the huge economic juggernaut that is China to Indonesia's remarkable resilience, the markets of Asia have provided much of 2005's adspend growth, Robin Hicks says.

JAPAN (adspend: $40.9bn)

- At a glance

The road to economic recovery has been long and bumpy, but at last a decade-long recession is easing. Last year, the ad market grew year on year for the first time since 2000. Initiative reckons it will creep up by 1 per cent this year. More growth is expected in 2006, with help from the World Cup, despite the unsociable eight-hour time difference.

- Hottest media launch of 2005

The big omission from Japan's media landscape for some time has been street furniture - until, in January, JCDecaux struck a bus shelter deal with Mitsubishi Corporation.

- Most powerful media owner

The online shopping group Rakuten is close to creating one of Japan's most powerful media companies, should it take over Japan's third-largest TV broadcaster, TBS. This trend began earlier this year when Livedoor, another internet start-up, tried to buy Nippon Broadcasting System.

- Most troubled media owner

More than 150 magazines fold each year - "take your pick," Mediaedge:cia Japan's managing director, Matt Eaton, says. One that stands out, though, is Magazine House: it used to publish an array of popular high-end titles, but clutter and competition have eroded their circulations.

- Biggest media agency

With billings of 1.38 trillion yen and thousands of staff housed in numerous skyscrapers, Dentsu commands more than one-quarter of the media buying market.

- Most promising media trend

The improving economy and recovering adspend aside, the growth of the international networks suggests advertisers welcome an alternative to Dentsu and Hakuhodo.

- Most worrying media trend

Terrestrial TV revenue is outgrowing cable or satellite, but audiences are falling. Eaton says: "The quality of TV is not improving and terrestrial stations are to blame for stemming the growth of satellite and cable."

- Most talked-about media figure

Takafumi Horie, the young Livedoor president, is the Japanese version of Richard Branson.

CHINA (adspend: $10.5bn)

- At a glance

The Orient express that is China's advertising market has not lost much steam. Universal McCann expects adspend to grow 20 per cent this year as advertisers - FMCGs in particular - look past the big tier one and tier two cities, home to between 12 and 16 million people, and into the smaller tier three and four cities, where around six million people live.

- Hottest media launch of 2005

China's in vogue, so Vogue's in China, People's Daily wrote this year. The Conde Nast title joined the likes of Cosmopolitan and Elle on the newsstands of China's streets after striking a deal with China Pictorial Publishing House.

- Most powerful media owner

The Chinese government heavily censors and regulates every media channel, from newspapers to chatrooms, so a company is only as powerful as the government will allow. China Central Television is the only TV channel allowed anything like national coverage and it consequently gobbles up one-third of total adspend.

- Most troubled media owner

Foreign TV isn't performing too well. The likes of MTV and Star are restricted to the Guandong province and are only allowed to transmit in Mandarin (the least-used language in that area), so ratings and profits are generally low. Cinema struggles, too, as the average Chinese person earns about £100 a month and would rather buy a decent mobile phone.

- Biggest media agency

MindShare dominates with billings of $725 million.

- Most promising media trend

As the market becomes more commercialised, so media owners are starting to improve the quality of their content.

- Most worrying media trend

China's size and population make measurement and keeping up with trends tough. There are no signs the market's state-owned media giants will liberalise any time soon, either.

- Most talked-about media figure

Guo Zhengxi, the CCTV ad manager. Li Ruigang, the president of Shanghai Media Group, gets a fair few column inches, too.

AUSTRALIA (adspend: $7.7bn)

- At a glance

Oil prices, inflation and the threat of terrorism have stood in the way of a good year for the Australian economy. Adspend was up around 6 per cent on 2004, but then, as Jeff Cressall, Universal McCann Australia's managing director, says: "We hit a wall in September." Another bomb in Bali, a popular Australian holiday destination, in October and the threat of terrorism on home soil has not helped.

- Hottest media launch of 2005

ACP's Madison, aimed at 25- to 39-year-olds, launched in May and its circulation has risen to hit the 80,000 mark.

- Most powerful media owner

Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd is the market leader in TV, magazines and online with Nine TV Network, ACP and ninemsn.com. After taking a hammering for most of the year in the ratings wars from its rival Channel 7, it won back its top spot with some canny scheduling.

- Most troubled media owner

Fairfax Group, the owner of the Sydney Morning Herald, has watched the circulations of its major titles dip 3 per cent this year and has been criticised for failing to embrace the digital age. Roger Camplisson, the managing director of Initiative Australia, identifies another: "Ten TV network has suffered in 2005 after a few years of excellent ratings."

- Biggest media agency

In September, Zenith Media Australia, which is part of The Communications Group (and not Publicis), was acquired by WPP, then folded in MediaCom to create the country's largest media owner.

- Most promising media trend

The relentless rise of the internet. Online adspend is set to eclipse radio in the next 18 months, Cressall believes.

- Most worrying media trend

The difficulty of reaching people under the age of 40 in urban areas. "Kids just aren't watching TV any more," Cressall says. "This is why we have to turn our attention to online and SMS."

- Most talked-about media figure

Kerry Packer, the executive chairman of PLB, or Grant Blackley, the Ten Network managing director.

SOUTH KOREA (adspend: $6.6bn)

- At a glance

Adspend's move into emerging media is more pronounced in Korea than most markets; a lacklustre economy has not helped. Terrestrial TV spend is expected to fall by 8 per cent and newspapers by 6 per cent, Hyon-Ju Cho, Welcomm ZenithOptimedia's executive media director, predicts. Cable and online will grow by 15 per cent. The overall ad market is likely to grow by between 1 per cent and 2 per cent.

- Hottest media launch of 2005

In a market replete with hi-tech communication channels, it is print that has impressed media buyers this year. The freesheet Upi, launched in October , broke the existing subway distribution model by handing out freebies to homes in Seoul. Luxury customer magazines are growing, too: new titles in 2005 include Avenue L for Lotte department store VIP members and Style H for Hyundai's department store.

- Most powerful media owner

Although it's not strictly a media owner, Kobaco, the Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation, wields a lot of influence. The government-controlled body oversees the sale of all terrestrial TV and radio airtime, and up to 35 per cent of all Korean media spend.

- Most troubled media owner

Take your pick between three terrestrial TV stations: KBS, MBC or SBS. Audiences and profits are falling alarmingly.

- Biggest media agency

Cheil Communications, with billings of $240 million, is more than twice the size of its closest rival.

- Most promising media trend

Kobaco's advertising policy is gradually becoming more flexible: longer commercials can be aired and there are more incentives for advertisers to buy airtime upfront.

- Most worrying media trend

A Korean Audit Bureau of Circulations exists, but only a few newspapers are members. Far worse is the practice of blackmailing advertisers to buy space.

- Most talked-about media figure

Hong Sukhyun, the JoongAng Daily chairman, has recently been accused of bribery ahead of the presidential election in 1999.

INDONESIA (adspend: $3.3bn)

- At a glance

For a country to be hit by a series of disasters (the Boxing Day tsunami, a second Bali bomb) but still boast one of the world's most promising developing economies is truly remarkable. And while fuel price hikes and lower consumer spending will mean Indonesia's ad market will not reach the 25 per cent year-on-year growth of 2004 (the world's largest), the prediction of 12 per cent growth for this year by Initiative Indonesia's managing director, Ram Subramanian, is bullish nonetheless.

- Hottest media launch of 2005

Jak TV, a lifestyle-oriented TV station aimed at Jakarta's burgeoning population of upmarket urbanites.

- Most powerful media owner

Bhakti Investama, one of Indonesia's largest investment banks, is also a holding company for its three leading terrestrial TV stations, RCTI, TPI and Global TV. RCTI is the market leader, TPI caters for lower socio-economic groups and Global TV reaches most young adults. Bhakti Investama also owns radio stations, newspapers and magazines.

- Most troubled media owner

Lativi, a TV station launched in 2001, has tried everything from radical programming changes to big discounts for buyers, but has failed to carve a niche for itself or win much interest from advertisers, Monica Bakshi, the managing director of Universal McCann Jakarta, believes.

- Biggest media agency

WPP's buying collective Group M.

- Most promising media trend

There are now close to 70 local TV stations, which started springing up in 2001, giving advertisers the opportunity to target specific consumer segments.

- Most worrying media trend

Indonesia is home to one of the most cluttered television markets in the world, where only the Spanish would understand what it is like to sit through a monster ad break containing 16 spots.

- Most talked-about media figure

Hary Tanoesoedibjo, Bhakti Investma's president, for his plans to expand his empire into radio and print.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

X

You must log in to use Clip & Save

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Campaign Jobs