Canadian broadcast ad losses may persist

Poll finds tat marketers are shifting toward new media

TORONTO -- Recession-driven ad revenue losses may never be restored to struggling Canadian broadcasters even after consumer spending eventually recovers, an Ipsos Reid poll revealed Friday.

Instead, the pollster found domestic marketers will continue to shift ad dollars away from print, radio and TV and towards emerging mobile, e-mail and online platforms as new media user patterns take hold here.

"Since 2007, an increasing proportion of marketers have indicated that their spend on television will decrease over the next two years. This has moved from 27% of marketers in 2007 to 42% this year -- up a whopping 15 points in just three. This clearly a function of much more than an economic recession," Ipsos Reid concluded.

The poll of Canadian marketers uncovered an increasing trend building customer relationships online, especially as digital technologies proliferate.

As they face a deepening ad slump in a challenging economy, Canadian broadcasters were recently encouraged by higher primetime ratings after introducing the Portable People Meter and finding unmeasured viewers.

But the Ipsos report confirms what domestic media buyers have said recently: TV ad dollars will shift around to where audiences are more accurately measured, not increase.

The survey also comes ahead of Canada's TV regulator holding public hearings Monday in Ottawa to consider whether domestic cable and satellite TV operators should pay carriage fees to broadcasters for their local TV station signals to offset the TV ad slump.

The hearings will take place against the backdrop of a rally on Parliament Hill by performers aligned with ACTRA, Canada's actors union, who are calling for any potential carriage fees to be directed to the production of homegrown dramas.