Kantar: Ad Spending Shows Signs of Life

While the economic recovery remains shaky, overall ad spending showed some modest signs of life during the first nine months of 2010, according to data released today by Kantar Media.

Total expenditures for the period rose 6.4 percent to nearly $94.1 billion, compared to the prior year, per Kantar, the research arm of WPP. Ad spending during the third quarter of 2010 was up 8.7 percent, the largest quarterly gain since the end of 2004, the firm said.
Spending among the 10 largest advertisers increased 6 percent to $11.9 billion. Top spender Procter & Gamble increased its outlays for the period by 19 percent to $2.3 billion.  
AT&T, the second-biggest spender, boosted outlays by 16 percent to $1.5 billion. Much of the additional money was directed toward its consumer television service, which accounted for nearly one-tenth of the company’s ad dollars. Rival Verizon, the fourth-largest advertiser, cut its spending by 13.1 percent, to $1.4 billion.
Despite a widespread surge in automotive category spending, third-ranked General Motors was the lone auto advertiser in the top 10, Kantar reported. The auto giant spent $1.48 billion, up 21 percent from a year ago.

“The advertising recovery expanded during the third quarter to include stronger participation by the long-tail of marketers beyond the Top 1,000,” said Jon Swallen, svp, research at Kantar Media. “Having fewer resources, this segment was previously cautious about raising budgets, and it lagged behind the early year rebound in ad spending. Smaller advertisers are now as fully vested as their large counterparts and in that sense, the advertising recovery has reached a significant milestone.”
By media, spot TV, which benefited from an influx of political spending, was the biggest gainer, up 27 percent. Cable TV increased 9 percent, and broadcast network TV was ahead 6 percent.

Spending on newspapers continued to slide during the period, down 3 percent. Display Internet was up 8 percent, and radio gained 6 percent.

By category, automotive was the biggest gainer, up 27 percent to $9.1 billion. Pharma saw the biggest drop among the top 10 categories, down nearly 9 percent to $3.2 billion.