Report: U.S. Ad Spend Dips 11.5%

U.S. advertising spending fell 11.5 percent to $83.4 billion in the first three quarters of 2009, The Nielsen Co. said today in a report that once again highlighted that the cable TV ad market has held up better than other parts of the media business.

The year-to-date ad-spending figure is down $10.9 billion from the same period in 2008.
The only ad categories posting gains over the first nine months of the year were Spanish-language cable TV (+36.7 percent), free-standing insert coupons (+11.2 percent) and cable TV (+9.1 percent), as nine of the top 10 cable advertisers increased their spending so far this year, according to Nielsen. Internet ad spending is down 0.5 percent year-to-date.

Network TV spending was off 13.9 percent year-over-year for the January-September time frame, spot TV for the top 100 markets was down 16 percent, and Spanish-language network TV was down 4.6 percent.
“The struggling economy continues to take its toll on the advertising industry, with most sectors lower than last year,” said Terrie Brennan, svp for new business development at Nielsen. “In general, television — particularly cable television – seems to be holding up better than print-based media.”

Auto advertising was down 30.9 percent for the first nine months of 2009, with local auto dealership spending down 26.9 percent. Ad expenditures for motion pictures, the sixth-largest ad category with nearly $2.5 billion for the nine months, fell 1.7 percent, though outperforming the overall 12.7 percent drop for the top 10 product categories. Quick-service restaurants and direct-response products are the only top 10 categories with slight gains.

Mediaweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.