Kantar Media says spending inched lower by 0.1% to stop at $30.2 million -- with the better performers including cable TV, Spanish-language TV and outdoor.
Looking forward, Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, states: “Data from the early second quarter are mixed, suggesting marketers are still being cautious and conservative with ad budgets. However, there are some bright spots, including healthy growth for Hispanic media and outdoor.
The biggest category, television, had a mixed performance in the first quarter of this year. Cable TV spending was up 5.2% -- resulting from greater inventory supplies and high demand from restaurants and auto manufacturers.
At the same time, weak prime-time broadcast ratings resulted in a 5.2% drop in broadcast TV network spending. Kantar says the drop was partly attributable to a calendar shift of the NCAA Final Four, which pushed the game into April, the start of the second quarter. Apart from this, Kantar says sports programming had ad revenue gains.
Local TV ad spending was down 2.4%. But without the spike of political advertising that boosted strong results in 2012, local TV was about flat. Syndication TV followed the marketplace overall, down 1.1%.
Spanish-language TV spending saw major gains -- up 13.5%, for its seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.
In print media, consumer magazines benefitted from higher consumer products advertisers, up 1.8%. Local newspaper spending was down 3.3%, and national newspapers sank at a quicker pace -- 9.2%. Kantar says newspapers were hurt by ad-spending reductions in financial services and motion-picture categories.
Outdoor advertising was up 4.3%, as a result of spending from local services, retail and restaurants.
Kantar did not have numbers for Internet display ad spend for the first quarter, due to measurement changes. But it will have them for the second quarter.