Nielsen: Spanish, Cable TV Ads Up in 2005

WASHINGTON Despite a slowdown in prescription drug and pharmaceutical spending, advertising for the first half of the year across 14 media reported by Nielsen Monitor-Plus increased 5.7 percent to $59.5 billion, compared to the same period last year.

Most media were up, led by Spanish-language TV with 15 percent growth, followed by cable TV (13 percent) and the Internet (12.6 percent).

Other media showing gains included local magazines (8.7 percent), national magazines (almost 8 percent), outdoor (7 percent), network TV (about 5 percent), business-to-business magazines (2.7 percent), local newspapers (1.8 percent) and coupons (0.4 percent).

For spot TV, Nielsen Monitor-Plus broke out expenditures by market size, with the top 100 markets down 0.6 percent, but markets ranked 101 to 210 were up 3.5 percent. Network radio was down 0.8 percent. (Data was not provided for spot radio and syndicated TV, since Nielsen Monitor-Plus changed its tracking methodology for those media.)

“The ad market is pacing at about the same rate as 2004,” said Jeff King, managing director of Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the ad-tracking arm of Nielsen Media Research, owned by Adweek parent VNU. “If it tracks historically like last year, advertising will end the year up 5.5 to 6 percent.”

Although the prescription drug and pharmaceutical spending was the second-largest category after automakers and auto dealers, the category—due to increased government scrutiny—was virtually flat. Most of the cutbacks were in television, down 70 percent in network TV, but up 29 percent in cable. Pfizer fell from the ranks of the top 10 biggest spenders, cutting its spending by about 35 percent and scaling back campaigns for brands such as Celebrex, Zoloft, Lipitor, Zyrtec and Viagra.

Movies and department stores also spent less on advertising in the first half of the year, each down about 3 percent.

The auto category was generally healthy with automotive companies spending $3.8 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent. General Motors, the top spender, increased its advertising by 14.2 percent and Ford, the No. 3 advertiser, posted a 10.5 percent increase, in contrast to DaimlerChyrsler, the No. 6 spender, which lowered its spending by 7.8 percent.

Procter & Gamble, the second-largest advertiser, also decreased its spending by 3.9 percent. Most of the spending decreases came at the expense of TV. P&G cut its network TV budget by 21 percent, syndication by 41 percent and reduced spending in spot TV by $50 million.

Advertisers continue to allocate dollars for product placement in prime-time broadcast network programming. For the first half of the year alone, Nielsen tracked 11,455 product placement occurrences among the top 10 brands. Coca-Cola was the biggest user of product placement with 2,775 occurrences, followed by Everlast apparel (1,648 occurrences).