Ad spend in traditional media could be flagging faster than predicted, according to a report from The Australian – it is estimated to have fallen 10.5% in January compared with the same period last year.

Figures drawn from research company Nielsen’s AdEx database suggest magazines were hit hardest, with revenue plummeting approximately 25%.

Metropolitan television advertising was down 7%, outdoor advertising fell 18% and metropolitan newspapers were down 14%, according to the estimates. Regional press and cinema were the only sectors measured by AdEx to register in the black, both showing double digit increases.

The 10.5% estimated decline indicates a significant deterioration since the six months to December, when AdEx estimated advertising spending in traditional media fell 3.8%.

However, the figures come with some conditions – Nielsen does not claim to offer exhaustive coverage of the industry in all sectors, and the numbers do not include internet and pay-TV advertising, both of which are still expected to grow this year.

AdEx estimates that outdoor advertising fell 18% in January, but the Outdoor Media Association believes data from its members indicated the decline was more likely to be in the single digit percentages.

Media buyers, industry spokespeople and advertising sales directors have disputed various numbers for particular media, but there was broad agreement the slowdown was worse than expected in January, just as bad in February and was not likely to pick up before March, if then.

MediaCom Sydney managing director, Toby Jenner, says the estimates appeared to show advertisers were favouring media that could be used to generate sales.

“Magazines tend to be used for brand building. Clients are saying it’s about getting immediate returns,” Jenner explains.