US Ad Spending Down 0.6% in Q1

June 15, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Automotive | Broadcast & Cable | Financial Services | Magazines | Newspapers | Out-of-Home | Radio | Television

Advertising spending for the first quarter of 2007 in the US was down just 0.6% compared with the first quarter of 2006, with gains in some media categories and declines in others, according to preliminary figures released this week by Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Internet advertising expenditures continue to grow steadily, with an increase of 31.9% in the first three months. National Magazines (6.5%), Spanish-Language Television (4.0%) and Spot TV Markets 101-210 (4.1%) also reported growth, while Network TV dropped by 8.5%, Nielsen reported.

“Last year’s Torino Olympics in February 2006 contributed to a higher than typical first quarter, resulting in a decline in TV ad spend for Q1 2007. If you removed the Olympics’ ad spend from the Network numbers last year, those numbers would actually be up this quarter,” said Brian Lane, SVP of client strategy and product development for Nielsen Monitor-Plus.


Additional data released by Nielsen Monitor-Plus:

Advertiser Spending

Advertising spending for the top 10 companies for the first quarter 2007 reached $4 billion, down 15% from the same time period in 2006 (see Notes, below).

Nine of the 10 advertisers decreased budgets – DaimlerChrysler was the only exception with a modest 3.3% increase. The largest decline (-35.8%) was by General Motors, which significantly cut ad spending for many truck brands.

Ad spend by Ford Motor Co., the third automotive company on the list, was essentially flat, with a slight decrease of 1.8%.


Category Spending

Spending for the 10 largest categories reached $9.8 billion in the first quarter of this year, 8.2% less than the same period last year.

Most product categories have decreased spending, with the exception of Direct Response Products (+8.8%), Pharmaceutical (+7.2%), and Wireless Telephone Services (+4.6%). Companies that contributed to the increase in these product categories include Lexicon Marketing, Bose, Pfizer, Takeda, AT&T, and Alltel.

The top category in terms of total dollars, Automotive, also had the greatest dollar decline (-$492 million).


Product Placement

Nielsen Product Placement Service reports an increased number of product placement occurrences in prime-time broadcast network programming for Q1 2007, based on its Top 10 Programs ranking.

The Top 10 programs featured 8,893 occurrences, compared with 8,793 occurrences for the same time period last year. “American Idol” is once again the leader in the number of placements. For Q1, American Idol featured 3,113 occurrences, vs. 3,052 occurrences in the year-earlier period. The Apprentice surged to fourth place with 945 occurrences, compared with last year’s 607 seventh-place rank.

The Top 10 brands that featured product placements for 1Q07 accounted for 4,253 occurrences – a slight drop from 1Q06, when 4,371 brands were reported. Coca-Cola, associated with “American Idol,” was the top brand once again, with 2,488 occurrences this year.

The Pussycat Dolls Lounge Nightclubs placed second in terms of the brand with the most occurrences (376). The brand is directly linked to the show “The Pussycat Dolls Present” airing on the CW, and places in the top 5 among programs with the most product placement occurrences. The Boston Red-Sox Baseball Team brand had 232 occurrences, a result of an “Amazing Race All Stars” contestant called Boston Rob, who wore Red-Sox related apparel on the show.

“The top 10 programs for product placement this quarter represent nearly half of the activity we tracked on English-language broadcast networks. Although we see substantial upwards trends with drama programs engaged in product placement, reality and lifestyle shows continue to dominate our Top 10 rankings,” said Annie Touliatos, director of product development and marketing for Nielsen Product Placement Service.



The Nielsen/NetRatings AdRelevance service estimated online advertising expenditures account for CPM-based image-based advertising. All reported estimated expenditures and impressions do not account for the following placement types: text only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, compound ads, sponsorships, barters, in-stream (“pre-rolls”) players, messenger applications, partnership advertising, promotions and email campaigns. AdRelevance does not report estimated spending for paid search advertising. The ad spend data does not include any house advertising activity. Newspaper ad expenditure data reflect display ads only.

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