Top b-to-b advertisers

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The top 100 advertisers spent an estimated $6.7 billion combined on b-to-b advertising in 2004, up 12.2% over 2003, according to a BtoB analysis of data from TNS Media Intelligence.

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The data include estimated b-to-b spending in business magazines, consumer magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, the Internet and outdoor.

SBC Communications was the top advertiser on the list, spending $523.5 million on b-to-b ads in 2004, an increase of 23.4% over 2003.

SBC figures include ad spending by Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between SBC and BellSouth Corp. in which SBC is the controlling partner.

Last year, Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless and launched a major integrated ad campaign, with the tagline "Raising the bar," to introduce the new brand.

SBC also made a big push into the small-business market with high-speed Internet services, including its SBC Yahoo! DSL Business Edition.

Telecom provider Verizon ranked No. 2 in this year's report, increasing its total b-to-b spending by 24.4% in 2004 to $335.3 million.

The third-ranked company this year was Hewlett-Packard Co., which spent $292.7 million on b-to-b advertising, down 4.9% from its 2003 spending.

Sprint Corp. ranked fourth, increasing its b-to-b spending by 1.5% to $268.4 million.

"Telecom spending is certainly picking up," said Steven Fredericks, president-CEO of TNS. "When you look at telecom, it is picking up in certain areas, but in other areas it is down."

For example, SBC increased its spending in b-to-b magazines by a robust 564%, from $1.4 million in 2003 to $9.3 million in 2004. It also increased its ad spending on network TV by 77%, from $30.1 million in 2003 to $53.4 million in 2004. However, SBC decreased its spending on national spot radio in 2004 to $19.5 million, down 38% from $31.4 million in 2003.

Rounding out the top 10 advertisers for 2004 were IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., InterActive Corp., General Electric Co., Citigroup and Bank of America Corp.

With the exception of HP, all the to p 10 advertisers boosted their ad spending on network TV in 2004.

Citigroup boosted its network TV spending from $17.8 million in 2003 to $45.5 million in 2004, a 156% increase. GE increased its network TV advertising by 56%, from $49.8 million in 2003 to $77.6 million in 2004.

HP decreased its network TV spending by 18%, from $66.1 million in 2003 to $54.1 million in 2004.

Most of the other top 10 advertisers also increased their spending in b-to-b publications, including GE (up 19%) and Microsoft (up 18%). IBM cut its b-to-b publication spending by 14%.

The Internet saw huge growth in 2004. Among the top 100 advertisers, Verizon Communications (No. 3) increased its Internet spending by 752%, to $42.6 million; Qwest Communications International (No. 54) boosted its Internet spending by 627%, to $16.6 million; and Monster Worldwide (No. 17) increased its Internet spending by 576%, to $46.4 million.

In terms of all b-to-b advertising, spending in business publications made up the greatest percentage of advertisers' budgets (35%), followed by newspapers (13%), consumer magazines (11%), network TV (10%) and the Internet (8%).

The medium that showed the most growth in b-to-b ad spending in 2004 was Spanish-language newspapers, in which the top 100 advertisers increased spending by 78%.

Other media receiving increased b-to-b ad spending in 2004 were the Internet (up 66%), syndicated TV (up 27%), Spanish-language TV (up 27%), Sunday magazines (up 26%), network TV (up 19%) and b-to-b magazines (up 4%).

Media that saw decreased spending by the top 100 advertisers included national spot radio (down 2%), network radio (down 5%), national newspapers (down 6%) and Spanish-language magazines (down 9%).

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