Multicultural Ad Spending Declines Less than General Market

March 15, 2010

Spending on Spanish-language and African-American media declined 4.7% and 7.3%, respectively, in 2009, according to figures released by The Nielsen Company.

Spanish-language Ad Spending Drops 4.7%
Nielsen found that Spanish-language advertising was down 4.7% in the US last year. A total of $5.4 billion was spent on all Spanish-language media in 2009, compared to about $5.7 billion the previous year. The slide was paced by significant declines in national magazine and local newspaper advertising, which were down 38% and 25%, respectively.


The decreases in print media were offset by a 32% increase in Spanish-language cable advertising. Nielsen found that 19 of the top 20 advertisers in the medium increased their ad spends year-over-year.

Spanish-language network TV generated the most revenue of all Spanish-language media channels in 2009, about $2.9 billion. This represented a 3.9% drop from the roughly $3 billion Spanish-language network TV generated in ad revenue during 2008.

African-American Ad Spending Falls 7.3%
Spending on African-American media saw a similar decline of 7.3% in 2009. The decline was paced by decreased spending in network TV (-72%) and national magazines (-33%).


Increased spending on cable TV helped balance out the losses. Advertisers spent 35% more on African-American cable TV in 2009, going from about $539 million to about $728 million, thanks to added spending by each of the top 20 advertisers in the category.

Spot radio earned the most revenue among African-American media in 2009. Advertisers spent $748 million on the medium last year, almost 10% less than about $827 million in 2008.

Quick Service Top Product Category for Both Demographics
The top spending product category for both Spanish-language and African-American media in 2009 was quick service restaurants. Advertisers within the category spent $335 million on Spanish-language media and $87 million on African-American media. McDonald’s was the top fast food advertiser in both media segments.


The automotive category was the next highest spender in both multicultural media. Spending in Spanish language media was down 39% in 2009, from about $528 million to $323 million, paced by double-digit percent losses by each of the top five auto advertisers. Spending by the auto industry in African-American media was down 18%, from about $105 million to about $86 million.

The category showing the most growth among the top 10 Spanish-language advertisers was satellite TV providers. Advertisers in this category upped their ad spends 77% in 2009, from about $135 million to about $239 million, as satellite TV companies made the pitch for their services in the run up to the DTV transition in June 2009.

Insurance companies showed the most growth among the top 10 African-American media spenders. General insurance and car insurance categories placed eighth and ninth in 2009 after spending increases of 29% and 24%, respectively. The motion picture category showed similar growth, coming in fourth place overall after increasing its spend 24% from $58 million to $72 million.


Ad Spending Falls in ’09
Advertisers spent an estimated $117 billion on US media in 2009, a 9% drop from 2008, according to earlier figures released by Nielsen. However, a look at 2009 ad spending trends by media category reveals that cable TV is growing in popularity with advertisers and print media is not quite dead yet. In addition to the 32% increase in ad spending in Spanish-language cable TV rose 32.2%, overall ad spending in cable TV rose 14.5%. Free standing insert (FSI) coupons found in printed newspapers and magazines had an ad spending increase of 11.5%. Internet ad spending only grew 0.1%.

About the Survey: Nielsen used the following methodologies to identify Spanish language and African-American categories:

Spanish Language

  • Five television networks, six cable networks.
  • Fifty-three local television stations across 27 markets.
  • Seventy-four radio stations across 24 markets.
  • Eight local newspapers across five markets.
  • Twenty national magazines.

Radio: One hundred-five stations across 34 markets. The following formats were included: Black News & Talk, Gospel, Urban Reggaeton, Smooth Jazz, Urban, Urban AC, and Urban Oldies.
Network & Syndication TV: Programs with an African-American audience composition of 50% or greater.
National Magazines: Twelve national magazines
Cable TV: BET & TV One, as well as other programs across various networks that achieve an African-American audience comp of 50% or greater and African-American P2+ projection of 100,000 or greater.

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