Biggest Advertisers Drive First Half Ad Spending, Pols, Olympics Big Contributors

Propelled by a boom in political campaign budgets, ad spending in the major media tracked by Nielsen Media Research rose 6.4 percent during the first half of 2004, according to estimates released Tuesday by Nielsen's Monitor-Plus unit. The automotive category saw the largest dollar increase of the major ad categories, as top automakers including DaimlerChrysler and Nissan Motor Company, continue to boost their ad outlays. The findings are consistent with the forecasts of many leading industry analysts, which had predicted a gradual strengthening of the 2004 advertising marketplace, especially as political and Olympic-related spending began heating up.

"The second half of the year will be fueled by two major events, the Summer Olympics and the presidential campaign. President Bush and Senator Kerry have already placed a substantial amount of advertising on spot television in key battleground markets," stated Jeff King, managing director of Nielsen Monitor-Plus, adding, "In addition, independent interest groups supporting Kerry contributed a significant amount of ad support for the candidate."



All of the major media tracked by Monitor-Plus - local magazines, cable TV, national newspapers, network TV, magazines, network radio, spot TV, spot radio, and local newspapers - showed positive growth, but the local magazines, cable TV and national newspapers were especially strong, posting double-digit gains over the first half of 2003.

With a 10.6 percent advertising boost, Procter & Gamble remained the nation's largest advertiser during the first half, with $1.459 billion in spending among the measured media.

General Motors, with $1.215 billion, remained No. 2, but its 7.7 percent rate of growth failed to match auto industry rivals like DaimlerChrysler (+55.9 percent) and Nissan (+21.3 percent). Ford boosted spending 11.6 percent.

The nation's largest advertisers continued to outpace the industry's overall growth, with the top 10 marketers spending more than $8 billion, an 11.3% over the first half of 2003.

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