Party Like It’s 2001: Ad Sales Plummet in Q2

39240-DownGraph.jpgTNS Media Intelligence reported that ad spending fell 1.6 percent in the first six months of 2008 compared with a year ago. More damningly, spending dropped 3.7 percent in the second quarter, the largest single quarter drop since 2001.

Not surprisingly, newspapers and radio were the biggest losers, falling 7.4 percent and 6.5 percent respectively. Television fell 0.4 percent. Network TV slipped 2.4 percent, while cable saw advertising rise 3.1 percent.

But the good news is we’re on the rebound, right?

Well, yes and no. Experts anticipate that spending figures will be higher in the second half of the year due to the Olympics and the political race, but also note that corporations remain nervous about the state of the economy. The ad slowdown started well before the current crisis on Wall Street reared its ugly, campaign-halting head.

“Advertising expenditures started to contract in March, well before the September turbulence on Wall Street renewed concerns about the health of the economy and possible collateral damage to the ad market,” Jon Swallen, the senior vice president of research at TNS Media said.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Internet advertising rose eight percent, or not nearly enough to save media as we know it. So forget about that silver lining comment.