According to data released by TNS Media Intelligence, during the first nine months of 2007, the top 10 advertisers spent a combined total of 13.3 billion in measured media, a reduction of 2.3% from last year. The pace of spending for this select group picked up in Q3, advancing by 3.1%.
Extending outwards to the top 50 marketers, a more diversified group representing one-third of the measured ad economy, expenditures were down 2.2% YTD, to 34.3 billion. Outside the top 50, the segment which has been principally responsible for industry growth in recent years, spending rose 1.4% versus last year.
P&G maintained its position as the largest advertiser with 2,466.5 million in spending, up 1.3% from last year. GM had the largest reduction among the top ten as its expenditures fell 18.0% to 1,425.8 billion. However, Q3 spending was up 2.0% versus last year, the first quarterly increase for the automaker in over two years.
Telecommunication companies kept their grip on three of the top ten spots. AT&T expenditures were off 5.1% to 1,663.4 million.
On the other side of the ledger, top diversified media companies each trimmed their measured ad spending. At Time Warner, scaled-back marketing support for the AOL ISP service more than offset increased budgets at the movie studios. Total spend contracted by 2.2%, to 1,197.9 million.
The top 10 advertising categories in the first nine months of 2007 spent 54.3 billion, up 0.6% from a year ago. In aggregate, they account for approximately one-half of all measured ad spending.
Financial Services maintained its top position with 6.7 billion in expenditures, up 5.5% for the nine month period. Despite the spreading turbulence in mortgage and banking markets that started in May, ad spending by mortgage lenders and retail banks continued to expand at double digit rates during Q3.
Direct Response had the largest percentage gain, up 15.1% to 5.4 billion.
Total spending within the Telecommunications category fell 4.0% to 6.6 billion, dragged down by Vonage Holdings and the AOL division of Time Warner. The ongoing slump in automotive sales still extends to ad budgets as well. Non-Domestic Auto dropped 6.1% to 5.9 billion and Domestic Auto shrunk 9.1% to 5.1 billion. Auto advertising has now declined for nine consecutive quarters.
Outside the top categories, the impact of a cooling housing market was seen in lower rates of ad spending for Real Estate (off 13.9% to 2.1 billion) and Home/Building Retailers (down 1.9% to 3.5 billion).
TNS continuously monitors Branded Entertainment within network prime time and late night programming. The tracking identifies Brand Appearances and measures their duration and attributes. In Q3, an average hour of monitored prime time network programming contained eight minutes, 16 seconds (8:16) of in-show Brand Appearances and 15:15 of network commercial messages. The combined total of 23:31 of marketing content represents 39% of a prime-time hour.
Unscripted reality programming had an average of 9:41 per hour of Brand Appearances as compared to just 4:24 per hour for scripted programs such as sitcoms and dramas. Late night network talk shows had even higher levels, averaging 15:31 per hour. The combined load of Brand Appearances and network ad messages in these late night shows reached 30:34 per hour, or 51% of total content time.