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TV still rules CEE ad market

Television remains the dominant advertising media type in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe, although digital, partly thanks to online videos, is catching up quickly. Digital now accounts for around 20 per cent of the CEE ad market, which as a whole was worth 13 billion euros in 2017. The news comes from the latest edition of the CANual report, published by weCAN, a network of independent advertising agencies in 15 CEE countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

The focus of the latest report is the coexistence of television and online videos that raises new questions and indicates new solutions, models, content, genres and players. While online videos are increasingly popular in Central and Eastern Europe, the report does not see online video overtaking TV in the region – yet.

The claim can best be supported by the fact that in most countries, except for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Lithuania, television continued to be the media type that swallowed up most advertising spending last year. Moreover, the regional average of share by media types reveals that television continues to make up 45 per cent of the CEE ad pie, while one third of the ad spending goes to online. In a few countries, namely in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia, TV increased its share.

“TV still sets the pace of audiovisual production and consumption, but video sets the pace of development with its worldwide availability, on-demand features, flexible formats, independent content and creative usage of platforms,” said Dora Petho, one of the report’s authors.

There are huge differences between advertising markets in the region (also) in terms of growth. Millions of Ukrainians watched the news during the Ukrainian revolution of 2014 through online video streaming channels. Video news site Hromadske.ua, for instance, became the largest channel in the history of YouTube in terms of total viewing time. Thanks to the social-political context and the high media inflation that urges advertisers to find new tools beyond traditional media types, the online video segment in Ukraine improves particularly fast, which is also reflected by the outstanding growth rate of advertising spending flowing to this field.

To provide a more insightful picture of the advertising economy, the report’s editors created the so-called weCAN Ranking. It reveals the performance of 15 Central and Eastern European advertising markets compared to each other by showing the percentage of the ad spending per capita within a country’s nominal GDP per capita.