US Ad Spend Down – Cable, Syndicated TV Gain; Newspapers, B2B Mags Lose

September 22, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Automotive | B2B | Broadcast & Cable | CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Hispanic | Magazines | Newspapers | Out-of-Home | Paid Search | Radio | Television

Advertising spending in the first half of 2008 declined slightly (-1.4%)?compared with the first half of 2007, despite healthy advertising growth for several media and among some top advertisers, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Advertising on Cable TV underwent the largest growth, with an increase of 8.1% over the first half of 2007, while Spot Radio fared worst among the 19 media categories analyzed by Nielsen, declining 10.1%.


Within specific categories, the Credit Card Services and Direct Response product categories showed the strongest ad spending gains (18.95% and 20.48%, respectively), while the Automotive (-.01%), Pharmaceutical (-4.76%), and Motion Picture (-4.64%) categories recorded the largest advertising declines.

Syndication TV (7.2%) and National Sunday Supplements (7.2%) also enjoyed healthy advertising growth in the first half of 2008. Advertising spend on TV programming and networks targeting Hispanic viewers grew 4.5%; however, ad spend on those targeting African Americans declined 5.1%.

First half 2008 internet ad spending grew approximately 11% overall when including paid search and online video advertising. However, a 27% decrease in spending by Financial Services companies – consistently among the top online advertiser segments – drove a 6% decline in internet image-based advertising during the period.

Various categories showed strong increases in internet image-based spending during the period, including the Entertainment industry, which grew 47%, Automotive, with 45% growth, and Consumer Goods advertisers, up 32% compared with the same period in 2007.

Top Categories

Spending for the 10 largest advertising categories reached just over $20 billion in the first half of this year, 0.02% less than the same period last year. Most of the top 10 product categories showed increased spending, with the exception of Automotive (-8.01%), Pharmaceutical (-4.76%), Motion Picture (-4.64%), and Auto Dealerships (-0.62%).


The Direct Response Product category showed the largest period-over-period advertising growth (20.48%), driven largely by significant first half 2008 ad spending increases by direct-to-consumer marketer, Allstar Marketing Group (1,507%), Video Professor (449%), and Rosetta Stone (245%).

Despite concerns about the national economy, the Credit Card Services category (18.95%) also recorded significant growth in the first half of 2008. Discover Financial Services’ 1,284% ad spending increase, coupled with sizable advertising boosts at Bank of America (524%) and Washington Mutual (368%), helped to drive the category’s growth.

Top Advertisers

Advertising spending by the top 10 companies for the first half of 2008 reached almost $7.7 billion – down roughly 6% from $8.1 billion during the same time period in 2007. Three of the top 10 advertisers increased their budgets from the first half of 2007 to the first half of this year, while the majority showed decreases.


PepsiCo Inc., which increased ad spending from $555 million in the first half of 2007 to just over $605 million in the first half of 2008, had the largest percentage increase (9.12%). In contrast, Procter & Gamble, this year’s largest advertiser, decreased ad spending slightly (-4.33%).

At the other end of the spectrum, Ford Motor Co., which cut its advertising budget from approximately $798 million in the first half of 2007 to $554 million in the first half of this year, showed the largest percentage decrease in ad spend (-30.56%).

Although Ford significantly boosted spending for the compact Ford Focus, that increase didn’t outweigh the decline in spending for larger vehicles, such as the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, Mercury Mariner Trucks, and the Ford Fusion.

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