Nielsen: U.S. Ad Spend Dipped 9% in 2009

U.S. advertising spending declined 9 percent in 2009, according to preliminary figures released today by Nielsen. Spending fell an estimated $11.6 billion to a total of $117 billion last year.

The figures continue a trend of at least six straight quarters of negative growth in the ad industry, but it’s a trend that shows evidence of slowing down, per the research firm. In the previous two quarters, Nielsen reported declines of 15.4 percent and 11.5 percent.
 
“Fourth-quarter ad spending was down just 2 percent year-over-year, and that helped soften the full-year decline,” said Terrie Brennan, svp for new business development at Nielsen. “In fact, most of the top advertisers showed increased spending late in the year. These are encouraging signs for an ad market that’s still trying to stop the bleeding.”

Nielsen did not break out spending by individual advertiser in its release.

One area that continued to hemorrhage: auto ads. Between dealers and makers, $3.5 billion in spending evaporated from the market last year, per Nielsen. Factory and dealer association spending was down  23 percent to $8 billion from $10.5 billion in 2008. Local dealer ads also dropped 23 percent to $3.2 billion. Wireless phone ads were down 8 percent to $3.3 billion. Pharma, however, was up 2 percent to $4.5 billion, while quick service and department stores were also up a percentage point or two.

Fifteen of the 19 media sectors Nielsen tracks were down. The biggest gainer was Spanish language TV, up 32 percent. The biggest loser: local Sunday supplements, down 45 percent.

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