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Online Ad Spending Up 26% Through Sept.

Overall Spending up 10.3%, Fueled by Olympics and Elections

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NEW YORK ( -- Ad spending rose 10.3% to $102.4 billion through September, and spending on the Internet was up 25.8%, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

As expected, spending behind political advertising ($765 million) and the Summer Olympic Games ($1.55 billion) fueled the increase. Except for national spot radio, which was down 2.6% for the nine-month period, all media outlets saw increases, led by online. Outdoor advertising, next on the list, was up 17.6%, followed by syndicated TV, up 17.3%.

Local newspapers
The largest media category, local newspapers, rose 6.6% to $17.7 billion, helped by spending from automotive, housewares and clothing/department store advertisers.

Network TV was up 14% and cable TV rose 16.1%. Network TV was the biggest beneficiary of the Olympic spending, accounting for $1.17 billion of the Games' total outlay, while local TV stations took in $285 million in Olympic ad revenue and $93 million went to the cable networks. The Athens Olympics generated $255 million more in ad revenue than the 2000 Sydney Games, according to CMR.

Political spending
Political spending is projected to top $1.45 billion when full-year numbers are tallied. Through September, the Bush-Cheney campaign and Republican groups spent $156.4 million on ads, while the Kerry-Edwards campaign and Democrats spent $253.8 million. Spending on other elections and ballot initiatives, as well as issue advocacy group ads, reached $356.8 million.

As a group, the top 10 ad spenders increased spending 6.8% to $12.67 billion, except for Time Warner, which was down 0.4%, and Ford Motor Co., down 0.7%. The largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble Co., increased spending 6.7%, while second-place General Motors Corp. rose 14.6%.

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