The Remarkable Growth of Cinema Advertising

Nielsen 2023 Media Spending report

In 2023, the Dutch media spending landscape saw a significant shift, growing by 3.5% to reach €6.03 billion. The latest report by Nielsen highlights the impressive growth across various media types, with digital media leading the pack in absolute terms, increasing by €157 million (4.7%).

However, the most striking growth came from cinema advertising, which saw a 15% increase, making it the fastest-growing medium. Sponsorship and Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) advertising also experienced double-digit growth, according to the Annual Report on Net Media Spending 2023, soon to be published by Nielsen.

Economic Backdrop and Media Investment Trends

The Dutch economy saw minimal growth in 2023, with only a 0.1% increase. The first three quarters of the year even faced economic contraction. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and inflation driven by the energy crisis significantly impacted the economy. Despite these challenges, businesses continued to invest in media, with a 3.5% increase in media spending in 2023, although this was modest compared to the over 10% growth seen the previous year.

Media Spending Dynamics

Overall, media spending rose by €206 million, reaching a total of €6.03 billion. This represents nearly one-third more than the spending level in 2019, the year before the pandemic. The spending pattern from 2019 to 2023 shows a sharp decline in 2020, followed by a strong recovery in 2021, and a slowdown in growth in 2022. While media spending continued to grow in 2023, overall business investments slightly decreased.

Cinema, Sponsorship, and DOOH Stand Out

In absolute terms, digital media saw the highest growth. However, cinema advertising was the star performer, growing by 15.5%. Sponsorship grew by 12.5%, driven by increased sports sponsorship budgets, and DOOH saw an 11% rise, largely due to a nearly 25% growth in digital screens. Radio also enjoyed a healthy 7.2% increase, more than twice the market average.

Conversely, television had a challenging year, with advertising revenue declining by 5.6%. This drop was influenced by decreasing linear viewing times, the absence of major sporting events, and a mid-year ban on untargeted advertising for online gambling. Interestingly, some print media sectors, such as newspapers, bucked the trend of declining ad revenues, showing a slight growth of 0.1%.

Market Shares and Digital Dominance

Digital media’s share of total net media spending grew to over 58% in 2023, up from 46% in 2019, with an average annual increase of 2.5 percentage points over the past five years. Other media types have seen their shares decline over the same period, except for DOOH, which maintained its share of 4.6%.

In 2023, DOOH’s share increased by 0.3 percentage points, while sponsorship grew by 0.8 percentage points. Most other media types saw slight changes in their shares, except for television, which lost 1.5 percentage points.


Nielsen calculates net media spending by surveying media operators in the Netherlands, asking for net advertising revenue after discounts and agency commissions. Nielsen aggregates these figures to provide a total per media type, adjusting and extrapolating where necessary to present a comprehensive view of the market. The 2023 net media spending figures and comparisons with previous years cover digital, television, sponsorship, DOOH, radio, newspapers, leaflets, house-to-house magazines, and cinema.

Embracing the Future

The evolving media landscape underscores the importance of adaptability and strategic investment. Understanding these trends and leveraging the strengths of different media types can enhance your brand’s reach and impact. The shift towards digital and cinema advertising, along with the continued growth of DOOH, presents exciting opportunities to engage with audiences in innovative ways.

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IM Lounge About the author

IM Lounge is a Media Performance agency. We develop media strategies and do media procurement. We get the right message to the right person at the right time. Within this area we believe developing a media strategy should go hand in hand with the creative strategy.