Q1 Ad Spend Jumps 5.2%

NEW YORK Despite spending decreases among automotive advertisers, total ad spending grew 5.2 percent to $34.9 billion in the first three months of the year, according to data released today by TNS Media Intelligence, which tracks ad expenditures across 20 media. The growth rate was slightly lower than TNS’ original forecast of 5.5 percent.

“Spending within key category segments displayed more volatility than normal,” said Steven Fredericks, president and CEO of TNS.

Automotive has been particularly volatile. Both dealers and manufacturers reduced ad budgets, with domestic auto cutting spending by 11 percent to $1.9 billion. Foreign auto expenditures were down 2.6 percent to $1.98 billion.

The downturn was offset by increases in other categories, such as telecom (up 20.4 percent), financial (11 percent), and local services and amusements (15.7 percent), in addition to events such as the Winter Olympics, which helped boost network TV spending by 12.3 percent to $6.5 billion. Spot TV also benefited from the Olympics and some early political dollars for a 6.4 percent increase to $3.8 billion.

Several national advertisers significantly increased spending, including top-ranked Procter & Gamble, which upped its ad spending by 13.8 percent to $793 million. Spending grew at AT&T and Verizon by 51 and 19 percent, respectively. In the entertainment category, General Electric, led by NBC Universal, increased spending by 44 percent.

In terms of sheer growth, the Internet continues to attract an increasing number of advertisers, jumping 19.4 percent to $2.3 billion. The new medium is now the sixth largest in terms of ad dollars.

Spanish-language media (which includes Hispanic broadcast and cable networks, spot TV, magazines and newspapers) was the third-fastest growing media segment, up 14.2 percent to slightly more than $1 billion, followed by outdoor (up 11.1 percent) and local magazines (up 11 percent).

Also growing were: consumer magazines (6 percent to $4.8 billion); cable TV (2.2 percent to $3.5 billion); national TV syndication (6 percent to $1 billion); national newspapers (6.7 percent to $855 million); free-standing inserts (18.5 percent to $475 million); Sunday magazines (10 percent to $438 million); and local magazines (11 percent to $110 million).

These media saw decreases: local newspapers (down 6 percent to $5.5 billion); business-to-business magazines (down 2 percent to $1 billion); and all three segments in radio: local radio in 34 markets (down 1 percent to $1.5 billion); national spot radio (down less than 1 percent to $538 million); and network radio (down 3.5 percent to $216 million).