Newspapers and magazines are expected to suffer a 20 percent year-over-year decline in advertising revenues this year, according to a new report released by marketing research firm WARC.

WARC’s "Global Ad Trends" report, which focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the global ad market, projects that overall, worldwide ad spends are projected to fall 8.1 percent (or $49.6 billion) this year, accounting for a total of about $563 billion.

Traditional media (which includes cinema, out-of-home, print, radio and TV advertising) is expected to be adversely impacted by the downturn, according to the report. Ad revenues for print magazines are expected to decline by 21.5 percent (or $3.4 billion), in 2020. Print newspapers aren’t far behind, with ad spends projected to drop 19.5 percent (or $7.6 billion).

The single largest drop in revenues this year involves cinema advertising, which collapsed by nearly a third (31.6 percent) as theaters shuttered across the country in light of the pandemic.

This was followed by the out-of-home market, or advertising that reaches consumers in public places, which is expected to be down 21.7 percent. Television ad spends are also expected to fall by 13.8 percent ($25.5 billion), despite the fact that homebound consumers have been viewing TV at near-record high levels.

WARC Global year-over-year ad spend percentage change (pre-outbreak vs. post-outbreak).
 

Despite the pandemic, global Internet advertising is still on pace to record mild gains this year (0.6 percent), with social media leading the charge (9.8 percent), followed by online video (5.0 percent) and search (0.9 percent). But online media won’t exactly exit the pandemic unscathed:  each of these channels reveal significant slowdowns from previous projections, causing WARC to cut its previous 2020 global Internet advertising forecast by $36.5 billion.

WARC’s report mentions that COVID-19’s $50 billion impact on worldwide ad revenues actually isn’t as bad as the post-recession fallout in 2009, when the ad market shrank by 12.7 percent (or $60.5 billion). One saving grace, aside from stronger-than-anticipated ad spends in 2020’s first quarter, is the upcoming U.S. presidential campaigns, which WARC said has buoyed ad spending despite its overall declines.