Advertising spending fell 14.3 percent to $60.87 billion in the first half of 2009, capping off five consecutive quarters of negative growth, according to data released Wednesday (Sept. 16) from TNS Media Intelligence. The final tally was similar to estimates released two weeks ago by Nielsen Monitor-Plus, which reported total ad spending down 15.4 percent to $56.9 billion.
The declines in second quarter differed little from first quarter, leading some to conclude that advertising had hit bottom. But John Swallen, senior vp of research and TNSMI, cautioned that conclusion might be premature.
“While it’s tempting to interpret this as a positive indicator that things aren’t getting worse, the fact remains that the market has been steadily tracking at around 14 percent declines for several consecutive months and this represents billions of lost revenue,” Swallen said.
The numbers could look better next quarter, if only because of easy comparisons to last year when the bottom fell out of the market.
Only two of the 19 media segments measured by TNSMI posted growth in the first half: Internet display advertising, up 6.5 percent; and Free Standing Inserts, up 4.6 percent. Both media benefited from larger budgets allocated by consumer packaged goods marketers.
Print media took the biggest budget hits. Spending in magazines dropped nearly 21 percent. Newspaper spending dropped 24.2 percent.
Due to weakness in local markets, particularly auto and retail, radio spending decreased 24.6 percent, with local down 25.5 percent and national spot down 29 percent. Network radio fared better with an 8.7 percent decline.
TV spending was a mixed bag, down 10 percent in total, mostly on a 27 percent drop in Spot TV. Network TV, Cable TV and national syndication had single-digit declines of 5.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Spanish Language TV was down 12.7 percent.
Outdoor was down 15.7 percent.
The top 10 advertisers spent 3.5 percent less in the first half of 2009. By increasing its spending 3.1 percent to nearly $1.2 billion, Verizon edged out Procter & Gamble to become the top spender. P&G cut spending by 20 percent but left its magazine ad budget untouched.
Among the top 10, the biggest budget cut was from General Motors, which slashed spending by nearly 26 percent to $773 million. Through June, auto advertising was pacing at a level one-half of its 2005 peak.
Telecommunications spending remained healthy, up 7.5 percent. In addition to Verizon, Sprint Nextel, the No. 7 spender, increased its budget by 55.3 percent to $631 million.
All housing-related categories were down significantly, including home and building retailers (-23.6 percent), real estate (-50.7 percent), home furnishings and appliances (-19.2 percent) and building materials (-16.6 percent).
Nielsen is the parent company of Mediaweek.