Q1 ad spending up 9.6%; big marketers lead charge

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Ad spending continued to improve at a rapid clip, even in areas such as newspapers and business-to-business publications, which have lagged behind other media in climbing out of the recessionary hole, according to first-quarter tallies by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

TNS reported ad spending in the first quarter rose 9.6% from the year-ago period, helped by continued strength among TV sectors and fast-improving print numbers. Growth came across the board, except for national spot radio, which dropped 2.2%.

Large marketers appear to be leading the charge; total spending among the top ten ad spenders rose 11.5%, led by Procter & Gamble Co., up 16.4%. Among the top ten, only DaimlerChrysler and Walt Disney Co., were flat.

The Internet was the fastest growing medium during the first quarter, up 28.1%. That dovetails with the Internet Ad Revenue Report, issued last month by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which reported record ad revenues for the quarter (AA, May 31).

Local media benefited from the early start to the primary season, which brought in political advertising. Local newspapers also got a boost from the early Easter, which shifted some of the volume of retail advertising from April to March, and from increases in help-wanted advertising, as the economy continues to gather steam. Local newspapers were up 7.2% and national dailies up 14.6%.

"It shows a nice start to the year and that the climate is finally beginning to stabilize," said Jason E. Klein, president-CEO of the National Newspaper Network.

help from help-wanted

TNS's tally bolsters a recent report from Newspaper Association of America, which showed retail advertising-the medium's biggest contributor-grew 2.7% in the first quarter, national advertising grew 4.5% and classified rose 4%.

"The industry has been waiting for help-wanted to come back and it looks like it has," Mr. Klein said.

The TV media continued its dominance, with network TV up 11.5%, cable rising 16.3% and spot up 8.9%.

TNS has forecast the summer Olympic Games and the November presidential election will help ad spending grow by 7.8% in 2004, to $138.4 billion, with Spanish-language network TV the fastest-growing, followed by the Internet. The company will release an updated mid-year 2004 forecast June 16, at the annual AdWatch: Outlook 2004 conference organized by Ad Age. and TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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