NEW YORK Out-of-home advertising slowed in the first quarter, rising only 3 percent to $1.6 billion, according to figures released by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
The gain is the lowest growth rate since the late 1990s, when the business began its seemingly unstoppable upward climb.
Still, the medium is holding up in the soft economy a lot better than many traditional media, especially newspapers and radio, which continue to decline.
Insurance and real estate, falling from the medium's second-largest category to third place, slashed spending in the first quarter by 11.5 percent to $161.8 million. Other categories cutting ad expenditures included media and advertising (down 0.5 percent), communications (-2 percent) and auto dealers and services (-4 percent).
Offsetting the declines were public transportation, hotels and resorts, which increased spending by 6 percent, as did restaurants. Retail was up 5.7 percent and automotive, auto accessories and equipment gained 1.5 percent.
The OAAA's estimates cover billboard, street furniture, transit and alternative outdoor media spending and are based on a number of sources including accountants Miller Kaplan, TNS Media Intelligence, member company affidavits and other syndicated data sources.