The UK games industry has slashed a third off its Q4 marketing spend for this year – as the economic slowdown wounds the trade in its most crucial period.
MCV estimates show that 2009’s Q4 figure is over 30 per cent down compared to last year’s astronomical £139m total rate card spend – falling to £97m. And can be partly attributed to the cheaper cost of advertising and a lack of new releases this Q4.
Publishers have also been tighter with their marketing budgets this year as they come to terms with the global economic downturn.
“We’ve definitely been looking to get better value for money,” said Ubisoft’s marketing director Murray Pannell.
“Whereas in the past we may have included one or two extravagant elements in our marketing mix, this year we’ve been looking to ensure that every pound we spend has some effect in terms of driving brand awareness or direct product sales.
“A return on investment has never been more important in marketing departments as the challenging marketplace has put pressure on margins and profitability in many sectors.”
HMV’s games advertising planner Al Hunter added: “Whilst we believe passionately that investment in advertising and other forms of promotion will always deliver real benefits, we also have to be mindful of the trading environment, as this inevitably has an impact on the budgets that are made available to the marketing team.”
It’s been a rough year for the UK advertising sector. Industry estimates suggest that ad revenues across the board in the UK have declined from £8 billion to £6.75 billion between January 1st and the end of October.
And this has meant the cost of advertising has tumbled, allowing UK games publishers to benefit from cheaper marketing.
“From a media buying perspective we have been able to take advantage of the significant deflation in market prices – our money has gone further than it did last year,” admitted SCE UK marketing director Alan Duncan.
Sega’s marketing director Amanda Farr agreed: “The economy has had a positive impact on our ability to gain share of voice and deliver more consumers for every pound that we spend. The number of advertisers outside of gaming has declined this year. The TV market, up to December, was showing deflation and so the cost of reaching our target market has been lower than last year – which applies to most media.”