TV, Not Digital, Propels Madison Ave. Spending, Twitter Surges 155%


Digital media may have the fastest organic growth rates, but it was the traditional medium of television that catapulted Madison Avenue's media spending during the first quarter of the year. Total media buys processed by the major agency holding companies pooling their data through Standard Media Index jumped 18% over the first quarter of 2013, largely thanks to blockbuster TV events -- especially coverage of the Sochi Olympic Games, the NCAA college basketball tournament, the Academy Awards, and AMC's season finale of “Walking Dead.”

TV ad spending soared 21% and accounted for nearly two-thirds (63.5%) of all advertising buys processed by the four agency holding companies -- Aegis, Havas, Interpublic and Publicis -- during the fourth quarter. “Digital” spending also continued to soar, expanding 23% during the first quarter, albeit with a big boost from blockbuster-infused traditional media companies’ digital inventory. NBC Universal, for example, broke into the top 10 list of Madison Avenue’s “digital vendors” ranking, thanks to an Olympian 249% surge in its digital advertising revenues during the quarter.

Conversely, a digital supplier -- Google -- continued to expand its share of Madison Avenue's spending during the quarter, ranking as the ad industry's fifth-largest vendor with a 17% share of ad spending.

While “digital” remains a hyper-fragmented, “long-tail” marketplace, Google took 18.5% of Madison Avenue’s digital spending, thanks to a 13% increase during the quarter. The fastest-growing digital supplier is Twitter, which grew 155% and ranked as the fourth-largest digital vendor, with a 2.3% of the digital ad marketplace.

While NBC Universal was the fastest-growing TV supplier (+124% thanks to the Olympics), AMC experienced the most organic growth, experiencing a 64% surge during the first quarter, and a 71% jump in the month of March, when “Walking Dead” aired the last episodes of its season.

Radio (+3%) was the only other major medium to expand during the first quarter, while magazines (-4%), newspapers (-14%) and out-of-home (-17%) declined during the quarter.

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