Web Records Robust Q1 Ad Spend Rise

NEW YORK The Internet recorded the largest advertising gains of any medium in the first quarter, according to the latest figures from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, with U.S. online ad expenditures increasing 28 percent from the year-ago period.

TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, the New York-based company that tracks ad spending in major media, reported that Internet ad revenue was $1.9 billion in Q1, up from $1.5 billion during the same time the year before.

The numbers differ from a report released last week from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which estimated that first-quarter online ad spending was up nearly 40 percent to $2.3 billion over the same time a year earlier [IQ Daily Briefing, May 24].

Nonetheless, both reports suggest that the Web has become an established part of the advertising mix.

Total U.S. ad spending in the first quarter came in at $31.5 billion, a 9.6 percent rise from $28.8 billion in the first three months of 2003.

“The economy is a bellwether for overall ad spending, and as the economy continues to grow, ad spending follows suit,” said Steven Fredericks, president and CEO of TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Other media categories showing strong year-over-year ad spending growth in Q1 included national syndication, cable TV and national newspapers, up 16.7 percent, 16.3 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

Also enjoying first-half boosts: network TV (11.5 percent), spot TV (8.9 percent), local newspapers (7.2 percent), consumer magazines (7.2 percent), freestanding inserts (7.1 percent), local magazines (6.6 percent), outdoor (5.2 percent), local radio (4.2 percent), network radio (2.3 percent) and business-to-business magazines (1.4 percent). Media categories that were essentially flat included Spanish-language media (0.1 percent) and Sunday magazines (0.6 percent). The lone category posting a decline was national spot radio (-2.2 percent).