Thanks to a better-than-expected third quarter—during which ad spending rose 12.4 percent to $34.7 billion—U.S. ad spending is on track to grow by 9.3 percent this year to $140.3 billion, according to Steven Fredericks, CEO of TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
"A lot of this was a surprise—we were expecting just under an 11 percent increase in the third quarter," said Fredericks. "Clearly, political and Olympic spending came into play, as we expected, but the third quarter ended Sept. 30, so we're not even seeing the full extent of political spending."
Fredericks stressed, however, that it was not only the quadrennial events of this year that led to the boost. He noted that of the $10 billion, year-over-year increase in the nine-month period, only $2.3 billion was spent on Olympic and political ads. (Media ad spending rose 10.3 percent to $102.4 billion in the first nine months of this year, and during that time, the Top 10 advertisers spent $12.6 billion, a 6.8 percent increase from the same time in 2003, according to TNS/CMR.)
Among marketers, Procter & Gamble has led the pack, spending a total of $2.1 billion in the first nine months—a 6.7 percent increase compared with the same period a year ago. General Motors was second in advertising with nearly $2 billion in the period, a 14.6 percent improvement; Time Warner was third with a total of $1.3 billion, down 0.4 percent; DaimlerChrysler ranked fourth with $1.2 billion, up 3.4 percent; and Verizon Communications placed fifth with $1.1 billion, an increase of 21.8 percent, according to TNS/CMR.
Almost all of the media measured by TNS/CMR enjoyed growth through September, with local newspapers leading in total dollar spending at $17.7 billion, up 6.6 percent from the same time period in 2003. Spending in the automotive, home furnishings/appliances and clothing/department stores categories helped propel the growth in this medium. Network TV, the No. 2 medium for ad dollars spent, totaled $16.4 billion, up 14 percent, due in part to spending in the third quarter for the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Total TV ad revenue for this year's Olympics reached $1.55 billion, an increase of $255 million compared with the 2000 Sydney games. Network TV garnered almost $1.2 billion in ad revenue on the games, while $93 million was allocated to cable networks. Local TV stations took in an additional $285 million in ad revenue.
On the NBC network broadcasts, a collection of 160 different advertisers aired commercial messages during the 16 days of coverage. And during the first nine months of this year, $767 million was spent on political and issue-advocacy TV messages.