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Video and TV forecasts

Ellen Kelliher, Head of Video Operations

by Ellen Kelliher, Head of Video Operations

Core Investment


2020 was another challenging year for TV. Despite strong viewing levels, we estimate that investment in TV advertising fell by 9.8% last year to €190.3 million, with spends across both ‘spot’ and sponsorship being affected. We continued to see an increase in the share of advertising budgets moving to online video platforms, which is in keeping with the ongoing growth in web-based viewing. In 2020, there was an annual increase in viewing of 10% for ad-funded video platforms. Separately, according to Core Research, 72% of adults say they access Netflix regularly and 23% say they watch Disney+ regularly.

We believe the TV market will see a recovery in 2021 as brands that were forced to curtail advertising in 2020 return to the medium. We saw this in Q4 last year when spends on TV grew by 20% (versus Q4 2019) leading to record levels of demand. We are forecasting 6.6% growth in TV advertising investment to €202.9 million in 2021.

TV spends in Northern Ireland also fell in 2020, with a decline of 9% to £68.2 million (€76.7m). For 2021, we are forecasting growth in TV revenue, in the North, of 10% to £75.1 million (€84.4m).



The online video market continues to perform strongly in the Republic of Ireland, increasing by 6% to €147.8 million last year. Facebook, including Instagram, continues to grow, accounting for 76% of the online video market (for advertising).

The advertising ‘boycott’ of the platform in July last year, initiated by the #StopHateForProfit movement, had minimal impact on Facebook’s bottom line. Circa 1,000 advertisers from around the world paused their advertising in protest at the platform’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. However, once the campaign lost momentum, after July, advertising demand returned to normal. We expect to see continued growth in online video investment in 2021, and we are forecasting an increase of 13.1% to €167.2 million.

We have revised the online video spends for Northern Ireland as they were overstated in previous reports. We estimate that the market in NI last year was £15.7 million (€17.7m), an increase of 4.1% on the previous year. Like the Republic, we are forecasting strong growth in 2021, with advertising investment levels likely to increase by 11.9% to £17.6 million (€19.8m).



2020 was a tough year for the cinema industry. As a result of lockdowns and restrictions, cinemas were either closed or under strict admission controls for most of the year. We estimate that spend fell by more than 80% to €1.4 million in the Republic of Ireland. For the first half of 2021, we expect to see little improvement; however, as we exit lockdown and cinemas reopen, brands and audiences will return. The film studios will be anxious to release their backlog of movies, and we expect spend will almost double to €2.6 million, but it is worth bearing in mind that this will only represent one third of the level of spend in 2019.

In Northern Ireland, advertising investment fell by circa 70% to £0.45 million (€0.51m) in 2020. Like the South, we are expecting cinema spends to double this year to £0.91 million (€1.02m).

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