This is the first year-over-year comparison where spending rose instead of declined, since the first quarter in 2001. CMR estimates that total ad spending for the first quarter in 2002 came in at $23.5 billion, compared to $23.4 billion for the same time frame in 2001.
The bright spots for the first quarter in 2002 were Spanish language network TV (17.5%), network radio (12.3%) and newspapers (8.5%).
In addition, ad revenues for network TV (6.2%) and spot TV (2.5%) increased with the help of early spending in 2002, on Super Bowl XXXVI and the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Surprisingly, cable TV experienced the most significant decline in ad revenues, dropping 15.9%. Syndicated TV followed closely: down 14.4% to $709 million. Ad revenues for Internet, magazines and national newspapers all slipped, declining by 14.2%, 10.6% and 9.3% respectively.
"With 2001 behind us, ad spending is steadily coming out of its slumber, already showing some signs of recovery for the year," said David Peeler, president and CEO of CMR. "With the Upfront season in full swing and an overall positive first quarter standing, we expect to see modest increases in spending by the third quarter."
Top advertisers for the first quarter included General Motors, spending $609 million, up 9.7% compared to the same time period last year; P&G spending nearly $480 million, an increase of 12.3%; and AOL Time Warner Inc., spending more than $406 million, a rise of almost 4%. Other leading advertisers continued to trim ad budgets for the first portion of the year. However, Philip Morris and DaimlerChrysler decreased their ad spending by 18.9% and 23.6%, respectively.