Ad Demand Improves Markedly In September: Online, Cable Still Lead

With the summer of 2003 behind them, the nation's media planning and buying executives have grown relatively more optimistic about demand for advertising inventory. In September, 44% of agency media executives surveyed by MediaPost and InsightExpress said their demand for advertising inventory had increased either "significantly" or "somewhat" over September 2002. That's a five-percentage point improvement from August, when only 39% of respondents said their demand had increased.

Equally significant, was a six-point gain in the percentage of executives who said they were maintaining ad spending levels: 49% in September vs. 43% in August. The percentage of executives who claimed their demand for ad inventory had declined dropped 11 points between August and September.

The findings, part of a regular monthly survey of media planning and buying executives that serve as the basis for MediaPost's Ad Demand Index, is another in a series of leading and lagging indicators pointing to an improving advertising marketplace for most media.



September Ad Demand Jumps Relative To August

August September Change
Increased: 39% 44% +5 points
Stayed The Same: 43% 49% +6 points
Decreased: 18% 7% -11 points

Source: September 2003 MediaPost and InsightExpress survey of media planners and buyers. Base = 226 respondents.

The biggest improvement in demand appears to be occurring with cable TV and radio. Both mediums experienced a pronounced up tick in the number of ad executives citing increased demand in September (see table at bottom). The biggest drop occurred for broadcast network TV, which declined seven percentage points in the number of execs citing an increase in demand.

Online continued to have the best overall demand index, with 54% of respondents seeing a surge in their demand, 35% being flat and 11% experiencing a decrease in spending levels. Cable TV had the next best overall demand compositions, followed by radio.

Newspapers continued to have the weakest profiles, with only 23% of agency executives seeing an increase in year-over-year demand for that medium in September, a decline of four points from August.

Interestingly, a leading newspaper industry economist, has just revised his 2003 newspaper ad outlook downward based on sagging economics for that industry (see related story in today's MediaDailyNews).

September 2003 Ad Demand Index

How Ad Demand Has Changed Relative To The Same Point A Year Ago

Increased Stayed The Same Decreased
Online 54% 35% 11%
Cable 51% 37% 12%
Radio 43% 43% 14%
Outdoor 33% 47% 20%
Magazines 29% 49% 22%
Network TV 24% 54% 22%
Newspapers 23% 51% 26%
All Media 44% 49% 7%

Source: September 2003 MediaPost and InsightExpress survey of media planners and buyers. Base = 226 respondents.
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