’03 a Bumper Year for Ads

Although 2003 began under a cloud of uncertainty in the advertising marketplace, the year ultimately delivered strong growth, with total ad spending across all media increasing 6.1 percent to about $128.4 billion, according to data released last week by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Almost all of the 17 media tracked showed robust increases throughout the year, with Internet, cable TV, national syndication, local newspapers and Spanish-language TV posting double-digit gains from the previous year.

The New York marketing research and data company credited the rise in spending to the returning health and growth of the U.S. economy, particularly in rising consumer confidence, higher spending levels and improvement in corporate performance.

In overall expenditures, local newspapers attracted the most dollars, rising 13.4 percent to about $22.8 billion. Marketers in the telecommunications, automotive, real estate, retail-banking and motion-picture industries fueled that growth. Internet showed the strongest year-over-year increase, with spending up 15.7 percent to about $6.5 billion.

In 2003, Procter & Gamble led the top advertisers, ringing up a 24.7 percent increase in spending to $2.6 billion, said TNS/CMR. Others included Time Warner, up 2.5 percent to $1.9 billion; DaimlerChrysler, 13.2 percent to $1.6 billion; and Walt Disney, 17.8 percent to $1.4 billion.

Among marketers that decreased spending last year were General Motors, down 0.3 percent to $2.5 billion, and Ford, off 1.1 percent to $1.4 billion.