Carat warns of ‘extreme’ switch in ad spending from TV to digital

Core television advertisers such as motor, retail and finance brands are increasingly taking money from traditional media and ploughing it online, according to media agency Carat.

The agency is warning against a “wholesale” change in emphasis from television to online in key categories, following the publication of its annual Biggest Markets Review.

Carat head of media Steve Hobbs questions the stability of such a rapid change. He says: “I wonder if in the long run we will regret the wholesale change of emphasis [to new digital media].”

The report says advertising expenditure in the UK grew 5.5% in 2005, aided by “significantly” higher-than-predicted internet spending.

This year started disappointingly with a year-on-year decline in revenue across TV markets and the World Cup not providing as strong a boost as had been anticipated.

“How established markets adapt to and harness new media will be an important market issue over the coming years as key categories, particularly motor, retail and finance, switch their spending,” the report warns.

Hobbs adds: “We may be all moving our budgets too quickly from one medium to another. Nobody can put their finger on why this is happening – the fall [in TV ad revenue] is more extreme than some people predicted.”

Carat managing director Neil Jones agrees advertisers are moving their money online and below-the-line, and adds that the expected further decline in retail, motor and finance brands will be driven by lower sales.

“Very simply, sales are suffering in the retail market, bar star performers such as Debenhams – a Carat client – Matalan or Marks & Spencer,” says Jones.

“The very tough car market is also being driven by demand from consumers. Gone are the good old days where the advertising economy followed the country economy, not least because of the growth of procurement processes by clients.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here