Entertainment digital ad spend will drop 6.9% this year, but gaming and SVOD growth will offset losses

  • Entertainment digital ad spending will decline 6.9%, compared with the overall digital ad industry's 1.7% growth.
  • But strong SVOD growth will offset some of the losses from live entertianment.
  • Insider Intelligence analyzes this industry and several others to provide in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. Learn more about what we offer.

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

We expect digital entertainment ad spending to decline 6.9%—roughly $520 million less than 2019 totals—compared with the overall digital ad industry's 1.7% growth. It's a stark decline from the 28.2% growth that entertainment saw last year, but we anticipate a strong rebound next year of 20.7% to $8.48 billion as parks, theaters, and event spaces reopen.

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

Gaming and esports are bright spots: Video game ad spending more than doubled from January to April, according to MediaRadar. And the launch of several new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services during the pandemic like Peacock, HBO Max, and Quibi—as well as Disney+, which launched last November—all contributed to significant ad spending.

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