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ART & COMMERCE

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By Alan Gottesman





Lost Weekend? National ad spending, according to Competitive Media Reporting, rose by 7.3% in 1997's first quarter, down from last year's Q1 increase of 8.2%, and significantly below the 11.4% pace for 1996. Is the industry decelerating? Perhaps not. Advertising is a seasonal business, which runs with a rhythm in synch with most schools. Things start in September, build to a crunch in December, coast into the new year, slope upward to a secondary peak in spring and then laze through the summer. Historically, first quarters have been the slowest times in the business, and that seasonal trend may be getting more pronounced. In 1995, Q1 generated only 22.8% of the industry's annual revenue, and last year, the dollar contribution fell to 22.1%. That drop may not sound like much, but it is the equivalent of losing one day per month. The big gainer is the fourth quarter, typically accounting for a third or more of a year's total volume. --Alan Gottesman (westendal@pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.





The Gottesman File





Ad volume grew by 7.3% in the first quarter of 1997, a deceleration from last year's kickoff pace of 8.2%.





..... Medium.....Growth*.....Share





.....Cable networks.....20.0%.....7.4%





.....Spot radio.....19.3%.....2.1%





.....National newspapers.....18.5%.....2.2%





.....Magazines.....12.3%.....16.7%





.....Network television.....9.1%.....23.5%





.....Newspapers.....5.0%.....21.1%





.....Radio networks.....4.9%.....1.3%





.....Sunday magazines.....3.4%.....1.6%





.....Spot television.....1.4%.....19.1%





.....Syndicated television.....-0.2%.....3.7%





.....Outdoor.....-17.3%.....1.3%





.....Source: Competitive Media Reporting. *Compared to Q1 '96





Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED





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