Most Traditional Media Prices to Inflate This Year

March 12, 2021

ECIMediaManagement Inflation by Media Channel in 2021 Mar2021After 2020, a year in which most media types saw price deflation for the first time in years, most are forecast to recover to inflationary territory in 2021. This is according to ECI Media Management’s 2021 Inflation Report.

According to the report, 5 of the 7 media types analyzed are set to see price inflation in 2021; although media inflation is expected to rebound, prices are predicted to remain lower than in 2019.

Digital video leads the way, with forecast inflation of 3.6%, closely followed by digital display, TV and out-of-home (OOH) which are each set to see inflation of 3.4%, and radio, forecast to witness price inflation of 2.8%.

Two offline media types, newspapers and magazines, are the only media expected to experience price deflation (of -1.0% and -2.3%, respectively). It’s one reason why, although global offline media will overall see inflation of 2.4% in 2021, this is set to be lower than that of online media types (3.5%). Total global media inflation is forecast to be 3.0%.

In the case of each of these media types, ECI’s 2021 forecast paints a different picture than the state of global media inflation in 2020. Last year, digital media types were the only types to not see deflation – digital display price inflation stood at 2.4% and digital video at 3.7%, which the report links to a consumer shift to digital during the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown directives.

Radio fared the worst last year, with price deflation of -9.4%, with newspapers (-7.2%) and magazines (-7.4%) not far behind. TV prices deflated by 4.6%, followed by OOH (-2.2%). It’s no surprise, then, that overall offline media prices deflated by 5.3% in 2020 next to online media’s inflation of 3.0%. And, that figures for offline media was enough to tip the scales for total global media, with average media prices deflating by 1%.

In relation to the 5-year trend, 2020 was truly a standout year in terms of fluctuations in prices. Between 2017 and 2019, all media types analyzed remained in inflationary territory with minimal fluctuations. As such, next to the sharp reduction in rates seen in 2020, this forecast for 2021 represents a road to recovery.

On a quarterly level, that media inflation in 2020 was defined by the pandemic is equally clear. For each of the media types analyzed, Q2 – when the crisis was rapidly escalating – was the period of greatest deflation, even in excess of -20.0% for newspapers and radio.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on information “derived from a number of sources, including [ECI Media Management’s] network of experts, real client data and agencies.” The data is then cross-referenced with industry bodies and publications, agency traders, and media vendors.


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