Kantar Media says U.S. advertising spending continues to slow down -- just inching up 0.4% in the third quarter. For the first nine months of the year, that puts U.S. advertising expenditures at $104.7 billion -- a 1.5% rise over the same period a year ago.
Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar Media North America, stated that the ad numbers ran “from plus 4.1% in the first quarter, to plus 2.8% in the second quarter and now a barely palpable plus 0.4% for the July to September period.
"During third quarter, an expanding number of the largest marketers became even more conservative with their ad budgets, and these reductions have neutralized the healthy spending growth occurring among midsized advertisers," he added.
The more positive story came from cable TV networks -- a 6.5% hike in the third quarter -- most from direct response advertisers. This area made up for slowing spending from auto manufacturers and restaurants. Overall, cable TV grew 9.9% for the first three months of the year.
Network television -- still the biggest advertising category -- witnessed better news in the third quarter, up 0.2% from higher budgets from movie studios and consumer package-goods marketers. But for the first three quarters of the year, network TV spending is still down 5.7%. Much of this, according to Kantar, came from losing from a shift in college football and basketball programming that moved to cable networks in the first quarter of 2011.
The biggest gains in any category came from Spanish-language TV, up 18% during the third quarter, followed by syndication TV, which was up 14.8%. Local TV lost 5.7% in the third quarter and 2.7% for the first nine months of the year -- all due to less political advertising money.
The Internet had a mixed picture: It was up 15.8% in the third quarter for display advertising, but paid search was down 14.4% -- mostly from lower media buys from insurance companies, legal services and medical care providers. Much of the same was true for the first nine months of 2011 -- display spending increased 10.1% while paid search fell 2.1%.
Consumer magazine ad expenditures witnessed a 1.4% drop in the third quarter, versus gains earlier in the year. Kantar says there has been demand from the personal care, apparel, prescription drug and direct-response categories, but continued big reductions from food companies and auto manufacturers. Overall for the first three quarters of the year, magazines has grown 2.2%.
Outdoor spending slowed during the third quarter, but still registered gains of 3.2% for the third quarter and 8.6% for the nine months. National radio was up 2.0% in third quarter and up 2.2% year-to-date. Spot radio lost 2.3% in July-September and was off 1.9% for the first nine months of the year.
Local newspapers -- despite robust budgets from local auto dealers and an uptick in financial advertising -- posted a 4.4% spending decline in Q3 and were down 3.9% year-to-date.