Standard Media Index (SMI) data indicates Australia’s advertising market may be recovering.

Figures were down on the previous year, but average spend across channels was up 9% in August compared with July. Individually magazines, OOH and cinema were big winners, up 41%, 32% and 19% respectively. Other channels experienced recovery, with TV, radio and digital up 5%. Newspapers gained 8%.

SMI said the online advertising market had slowed to 8% growth from highs of 22% in the first half and 10% in the second quarter of 2009. Online advertising was the only major category to register growth between July and August.

This is the first good news to emerge for the media sector for months. SMI figures show the media agency advertising spend has been falling most of the year, so to see a change in direction can only be seen as positive news for the media sector, said SMI publisher Jane Schulze.

If sustained into September, it could suggest the end of the worst advertising downturn in living memory.

SMI aggregates the booking data of Australia’s top media buying agencies by individual media each month.