Nielsen: US ad spend down 9% in 2009

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Spending fell an estimated $11.6 billion to a total of $117 billion last year. The figures continue a trend of at least six straight quarters of negative growth in the ad industry, but it’s a trend that shows evidence of slowing down. In the previous two quarters, Nielsen reported declines of 15.4% and 11.5%.


Spanish Language Cable TV (+32.2%) and Cable TV (+14.8%) stood out as the top-gaining media in 2009. Free-Standing Insert Coupon (+11.5) was the only other medium to show significant year-over-year growth. Internet (+0.1%) remained essentially flat. African-American TV (a subset of network, cable, and syndicated) enjoyed a 13.8% increase in spending year-over-year. Spanish language TV (cable and network combined) fell 0.4%.

Both network and spot radio had declines in the high nines; but the big hit in broadcast was Top 100 markets for Spot TV–down 16.1%. This was an even bigger hit than local and national Newspapers (see chart). 

“Fourth quarter ad spending was down just two percent year-over-year, and that helped soften the full-year decline,” said Terrie Brennan, SVP/new business development at The Nielsen Company. “In fact, most of the top advertisers showed increased spending late in the year. These are encouraging signs for an ad market that’s still trying to stop the bleeding.”

Year-to-Year Change in Ad Spend, by Media

Media Category*

Jan-Dec 2009

vs. Jan-Dec 2008

% Change

Spanish Language Cable TV

32.2%

Cable TV

14.8%

FSI Coupon

11.5%

Internet**

0.1%

Spanish Language Network TV

-3.9%

National Sunday Supplement

-7.2%

Spot Radio

-8.7%

Network Radio

-9.7%

Network TV

-9.9%

Local Newspaper

-10.4%

Outdoor

-11.2%

National Newspaper

-13.7%

Spot TV 101-210

-14.2%

Syndicated TV

-14.7%

Spot TV Top 100

-16.1%

National Magazine

-19.3%

Local Magazine

-23.9%

B2B

-32.7%

Local Sunday Supplement

-44.9%

Grand Total

-9.0%

Source: The Nielsen Company

* All data from non-Internet media pulled from Nielsen’s Ad*Views database

** Internet advertising expenditures pulled from AdRelevance database and account for CPM-based, image-based advertising. These reported estimated expenditures do not account for paid search advertising, text only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, sponsorships, barters, in-stream (“pre-rolls”) players, messenger applications, partnership advertising, promotions and email campaigns, or house advertising activity.

Ad spend declines are easing up even in print media, which have taken more than their share of lumps over the last few years. National Newspapers were down 13.7% last year, but it’s an improvement from the -21.6% pace that Nielsen reported through the first three quarters of 2009. Local Newspapers finished relatively strong in 2009, cutting its reported 14% decline in ad revenue through Q3 to -10.4% by year’s end.

Spending by the top ten product categories was down 9.5% in 2009. The automotive industry was the top category with over $8 billion spent last year. Pharmaceutical, Quick Service Restaurants, and Department Stores were next on the list, with each category showing year-over-year gains.

There was some notable activity among product categories outside the top 10. Investment Services not only saw ad spend fall 14% to $1.3 billion in 2009, but the category also had about 1000 fewer advertisers in 2009 compared to 2008. On the other hand, spending by web-based advertisers climbed 32% to $1.1 billion, paced by dramatic spending increases by Hulu and Bing.

 


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.