Initial 2013 Broadcast Spending Reflects Tough Comps With 2012, Digital Continues To Expand Share Of Agency Budgets

U.S. ad spending expanded 4% during the first two months of 2013 vs. the same period in 2012, according to actual buying data from four of the six agency holding companies compiled by Standard Media Index (SMI). The data, which is a composite of the transactions processed by Aegis, Havas, Interpublic and Publicis, is an encouraging early indicator as it compares with 2012, which benefited from incremental demand related to political campaigns. In fact, broadcast media -- both radio (-4%) and TV (-3%) -- the main beneficiaries of political media buys, were the only media sectors to post declines during the first two months of 2013.
 
While broadcast TV was down, increases in network (+1%) and local cable (+5%) and syndication (+1%), were enough to keep total TV ad spending erosion down to just 1% during the first two months.
 
While all other media expanded by double-digit rates, the overhang from television -- which accounts for nearly two-thirds (64.6%) of the media budgets spent by the agencies -- was enough to keep total ad spending down to just a 4% rate of growth.
 
“Digital” -- including online display, video, search, social, mobile, email, etc. -- accounts for the second-biggest share of media spending, representing more than a fifth (21.7%) of the buys made by the big agencies. As a category, digital media buys expanded 16% during the first two months, led by a 12% increase in premium display, a 6% gain in search and a 23% surge on ad networks.
 
Video, social, mobile, email and exchange-based buys all had significant double-digit growth, but together represent less than 5% of the buys made by the big agency holding companies.
 
Although still the No. 1 type of digital media bought by the SMI agencies, display’s share has eroded to a little more than a third (35.1%) from 43.5% of the digital dollars spent by the agencies during the same period in 2010.
Recommend (3) Print RSS