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Entertainment Digital Ad Spend Will Rebound More than 20% in 2021

With the shuttering of amusement parks and cancellation of live events, entertainment will see some of the biggest declines in digital ad spending this year, eclipsed only by those of the travel, automotive, and media industries.

We expect entertainment digital ad spending to decrease 6.9% in 2020, down by roughly $520 million from 2019 and well behind the overall digital ad market’s 1.7% growth this year. It’s a stark drop compared with the 28.2% growth that the industry saw last year. But we anticipate a strong rebound of 20.7% next year to $8.48 billion, as parks, theaters, and event spaces reopen.

While the pandemic has severely affected live entertainment, strong growth in subscription video services and gaming advertising will help offset some of those losses. Time spent with screens has skyrocketed, which has shielded the entertainment industry from potentially even bigger losses.

Gaming and esports are bright spots: Video gaming ad spend more than doubled from January to April, according to MediaRadar. The launch of several new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services during the pandemic like NBCUniversal’s Peacock, HBO Max, and Quibi—as well as the launch of Disney+ last November—all contributed significantly to digital ad spending.