U.S. Ad Spend Rises, Sports, Syndicated Shows Propel TV

Arrow-overMoney-2AU.S. advertising spending will continue to register moderate growth in the upcoming quarters, similar to the levels achieved in the first quarter of 2012.

Kantar Media says ad sales were up 2.6% in the first quarter to $32.9 billion, versus flat spending for the last six months of last year.

Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, stated: “Early figures from the second quarter indicate continued modest growth with improvement trickling down to media that have been lagging the overall advertising market.”

January was sluggish, says Kantar, but accelerated to 4% gains in February and March.

Big sports TV programming was the prime mover behind year-over-year gains: 7.4% on cable TV networks and 7.0% in broadcast TV networks. Two-thirds of the rise came from TV spending on the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and the NFL post-season games.



P&G continued to be the country’s largest advertiser, although Comcast moved into the second slot with the rollout of its Xfinity brand. GM cut spending by nearly 18%, while Toyota increased its outlays by 8.6%.

Still, the auto category continued to be the largest with well over $3.5 billion in spending, which includes the manufacturer and dealer levels, although that was down slightly (1.5%) versus last year.

Syndication TV spending soared 15.7% due to more programming time and improved audience ratings gains. Getting its usual every-other-year gains from political advertising and Olympics, spot TV witnessed spending increases of 2.5% versus a year ago.

Continuing its upward trend, Spanish-language TV tacked on 20.7% from higher automotive spots.

Headed in the other direction -- as has been their continuing trend -- were consumer magazines, which lost 4.2%. Sunday magazines were down 4.6%, due to cutbacks from auto manufacturers, food companies and prescription drug marketers. Local newspapers fell 3.9%, while national newspapers lost 7.7%. Print media lost big ad spending from financial services, travel and telecom categories.

Radio posted a modest 0.8% increase, although network radio paced that with a 22.9% bump versus about a 2% drop in local radio -- a radio stat provided by a research firm other than Kantar. The outdoor segment was up 4.6%.

Internet display advertising dropped 4.1% in the first quarter, per Kantar Media's view of some 2,811 Internet sites. Ad spending reductions came from fewer display ads appearing on the average Web page, offset from higher average CPMs.

The bigger and more popular high-traffic sites witnessed flat year-over-year spending, with the many small Web sites moving down by mid-teens percentages.


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