Ad Spend Flat In 2013, But Cable TV Spend Rises

U.S. advertising spending barely inched up in 2013 over the previous year -- all due to the lack of big Olympic or political advertising spending.

Kantar Media says there was a 0.9% growth totaling $140.2 billion by year’s end -- helped to some extent by a better fourth-quarter 2013 period, which improved 1.6% versus the same period a year before.

Looking at specific groups of marketers, Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, says bigger U.S. marketers are carrying more of the overall advertising market versus that of the smaller players.

“The ad market is currently being carried by the Top 1000 advertisers which, as a group, are steadily spending more while the long-tail of small-sized marketers is sharply cutting back,” he stated.

Cable TV spending continued to outperform the market as a whole -- growing 7.3% in 2013, with big double-digit percentage growth coming from the automotive, consumer package-goods, restaurant and telecommunications categories. Cable was also helped by a 1.3% increase in the amount of paid advertising time.

Although sports TV programming continues to boost network TV advertising spending, the lack of Olympics and political advertising resulted in a decline in overall results, with network TV down 3.4%. Spot TV was lower for the same reasons -- down 8.1%. One bright spot is that the big auto category continues to raise its media spending.

Spanish-language TV grew 2.9% with syndication spending underperforming the market as a whole -- up 0.5%. Digital online display advertising was the best performer overall -- up 15.7%. Kantar Media notes that financial services, telecommunications and travel advertisers had a pickup in spending.

Outdoor advertising had some nice steady growth -- 4.4%, getting a boost from continued new digital signage. Consumer magazines witnessed spending 2.6% higher when looking at rate card prices, but Kantar says advertising pages were down 1.9%.

Local advertising in newspapers was 3.8% lower, with national newspapers down 3.6%. Financial services, retail and theatrical movie marketing spending was lower. Spanish-language newspapers bucked this trend, growing 1.9% in 2013.

Local radio dropped 4.1% and national spot radio was 3.3% lower -- with less political advertising as the main reason. Network radio spending sank 15.9%, due to a smaller number of monitored networks.

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