Auto Ad Spending Stalls

NEW YORK Automotive advertising spending across 14 media tracked by Nielsen Monitor-Plus dipped 1 percent in 2006 to $13.5 billion.

Nearly 80 percent of that spending—or $10.5 billion—was placed on television. National magazines got 11 percent, $1.45 billion.

Spot buys made up 45 percent of the TV total, up 4 percent to slightly more than $6 billion.

Local newspapers, with only 2.5 percent of total auto spending, took the biggest hit. Auto spending was down 40 percent to $355 million.

Auto budgets were also cut in the following media: cable TV (down 9 percent to $1.4 billion); national magazines (down 10 percent to $1.5 billion); national newspapers (down 6 percent to $160.6 million); syndicated TV (down 21 percent to $76 million); national Sunday supplements (down 36 percent to $12.5 million); and local Sunday supplements (down 24 percent to $200,000).

In addition to spot TV, seven other media saw gains including network TV (up 3 percent to $2.8 billion); spot radio (up 8 percent to $406.6 million); Spanish-language network and cable TV (up 9 percent to $313.0 million); outdoor (up 1 percent to $153 million); network radio (up 1 percent to $41 million); and local magazines (up 9 percent to $10.2 million).

The top 10 auto advertisers spent $12.7 billion last year, down 1 percent from 2005. Half of the automakers increased budgets: Ford, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Mazda. Decreasing their budgets were General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Nissan, Volkswagen and Kia.

Although GM cut spending by 10 percent, it was still the top auto advertiser at $2.8 billion.

Nielsen Monitor-Plus, like Adweek, is a unit of the Nielsen Co.