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Advertising spend tipped to hit deepest lows in May and June

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Protection: Core CEO Alan Cox has announced reductions  in pay

Protection: Core CEO Alan Cox has announced reductions in pay

Protection: Core CEO Alan Cox has announced reductions in pay

THE value of Irish advertising will collapse by 30pc this year with some of the hardest hits predicted for May and June, marketing agency Core has warned.

Core chief executive Alan Cox said the firm has opted to reduce pay for its own 320-member workforce, rather than let staff go.

The company is Ireland's largest marketing firm, advising on advertising spending for dozens of big brands.

Core is forecasting that advertising revenue across all national channels will fall this year by about 30pc across the media, with the heaviest losses hitting cinemas - currently shut amid the Covid-19 crisis - and outdoor advertising.

"A lot of clients have pulled their ad campaigns for outdoor activity because people aren't moving around," Mr Cox said.

Print media is also losing advertising with areas including travel and tourism sector and the motor trade especially hard hit.

"Some clients would be fearful that sales of newspapers are reducing because readers are not going as frequently to their local newsagent," he highlighted.

"On the other side of that news media equation, their websites are doing extremely well in terms of traffic because of larger online audiences. Television viewing numbers are substantially up too. Unfortunately, this increased online and broadcast traffic is not translating into increased advertising revenue like it normally would, because many advertisers are deferring their campaigns."

Mr Cox said that, based on Core's own experience of clients cancelling and deferring campaigns, he expects advertising spend in May and June to slump by 65pc below normal in those months.

The slump is expected to moderate to 40pc below normal spend in July and August, then to 20pc for the rest of the year.

Mr Cox said Core's own pay cuts were needed "to protect our employees' jobs and ensure that our business remains strong".

He said pay cuts would range from 7.5pc to 20pc, with lower earners losing the least "to ensure as fair an approach as possible".

The top 20pc cut will be applied only on earnings above the €100,000 level, said Mr Cox, who confirmed he was taking the hit with the rest of the higher earners.

"It's only fair," he said. "We need to get through this period together."

Irish Independent