U.S. Ad Spend Dips in 1st Half

NEW YORK U.S. ad spending in the first half of the year was down .5 percent versus the same period a year ago, according to ad tracker Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Spending was either down or flat across most major media, including network TV (-4 percent), local newspapers (-8 percent) and spot radio (-2 percent).

The dip in overall spending is in line with figures released last week by competing service TNS Media Intelligence, which showed advertising revenue for the first half of 2007 off by .3 percent to $72.59 billion compared to the first six months of 2006. This marked the first time since 2001 that ad revenue fell for two consecutive quarters, according to TNS.

Ad spending declined 7 percent among the top 10 advertisers (including General Motors, Procter & Gamble and AT&T) during the first half of 2007, per Nielsen. GM showed the largest decline, plunging 28 percent to $954 million. (TNS data showed a significantly smaller overall decline for the top 10 advertisers with a drop of slightly more than 2 percent.)

Spending across the auto sector was down 10 percent to $5.8 billion, Nielsen said. Auto dealer spending dropped 5 percent to $2.4 billion and quick-service restaurant spending dipped 2 percent to $2 billion.

Product placement across the top 10 broadcast network prime-time shows in terms of the number of placement occurrences for the period was up almost 19 percent, per Nielsen. The top brand was Coca-Cola, and its association with Fox’s American Idol show accounted for 3,054 occurrences.

However, product placement occurrences across the top 10 prime-time cable shows declined 14 percent in the first half. Orange County Chopper Apparel was the top brand, based on its association with its namesake cable series American Chopper.

The Nielsen Co. is the parent of Adweek and Nielsen Monitor-Plus.