Ad Spending Edges Up, but Recovery Is Muted for Many

Fast Rebound for National Newspapers, but Print Overall Is Flat

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NEW YORK ( -- U.S. ad spending increased 3.8% in the first half of the year from the still-officially-recessionary first half of 2009, but the gains for some big categories of media were muted, according to new figures released today by Nielsen.

Ad revenue leapt 24.2% for Spanish-language network TV, 21.6% for Sunday newspaper supplements, 13% for cable TV, 10.8% at national newspapers and 8.5% for broadcast TV, Nielsen estimated.

Others' story of the first half was closer to flat. Ad revenue increased 0.2% for local newspapers, 0.6% for network radio, 1% for syndicated TV, 1.6% for outdoor and 2.3% for national magazines, according to Nielsen. It slipped 1.3% for Spanish-language cable, 2.2% for spot radio and 3.2% for spot TV. Ad revenue for print as a whole was unchanged from the first half of last year.

There were also a couple of big declines, a 19.2% drop in the business-to-business press and a 12% slide for local Sunday supplements, according to Nielsen.

U.S. ad spending declined 15.4% in the first half of 2009, Nielsen said last year.

Nielsen is updating its methodology for estimating internet spending so its report today did not address online activity.

Major gains from automotive
Among the big categories of advertising, auto jumped 26.9% and auto insurance increased 22.6%.

Auto advertising benefited most from ramped-up spending at General Motors, which increased its outlay 73% from the first half of 2009, but also from a 22% increase from Toyota and a 15% increase from Ford.

The other two categories to grow improved more modestly: department stores increased 4.9% and restaurants increased 2.5%.

The wireless telephone services category fell 13.6% and direct marketing of products declined 11.2%. Smaller drops came from pharmaceuticals, down 4.4%; fast food, down 4.3%; movies, down 3.3%; and car dealerships, down 2%.

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