Global advertising spending was up 3.1% in the first quarter of 2012 -- lower than the gains in the first quarter of a year ago.
Worldwide advertising revenues were at $128 million for the quarter. A year ago, ad revenue was up 4.5% versus the same period in 2010.
North America gains slightly underperformed worldwide results overall, up 2.1% -- with Europe down 1.4% versus the same period a year ago, the only region to see negative results. Greece and Spain had significant declines, while France, Germany and Switzerland gained from a year ago.
Nielsen says emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa had big double-digit gains, up 23.3%. Egypt saw big ad spend growth of 67%. Asia-Pacific saw modest gains of 1.7% for the first quarter of 2012. Latin America witnessed a healthy 9.6% gain versus a year ago.
Nielsen says while ad spend increased only slightly in January compared
to last year, the year-over-year change grew steadily in the subsequent months. Good news: starting in March 2012, global ad spend quickly improved -- 4.5%.
Global advertising estimates for 2012 have been slightly downgraded from the major media agency groups recently -- some due to the economic problems in Europe. For example, Zenith recently said global ad spending will increase by 4.3% this year to about $464 billion -- about half of a percentage point lower than its March forecast.
In the U.S., Zenith is calling for 3.6% growth.