Ad Spending Slows in Second Quarter, Ekes Out 0.7% Increase

Kantar Media Attributes Slow-Down to Contrast with Earlier Ad Spending Around Olympics

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Total advertising spending increased only 0.7% in the second quarter of 2014 to $35.6 billion, according to Kantar Media's latest report. Spending was up 3% for the first half of the year.

"The slow growth rate of ad spending in Q2 is payback for the surfeit of money in Q1 that was pulled forward to fund Olympics budgets," said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, in a statement.

He added that Olympic advertisers reduced year-over-year spending by more than 4% in the second quarter.

Three major sporting events had a significant impact on TV ad spending, which increased 5% in the second quarter, according to the report.

Spanish language TV spending increased 41.5%, thanks to the first three weeks of the World Cup tournament at the end of June. And cable TV expenditures rose almost 10% compared to a year ago. Kantar attributes about one-third of that boost to the World Cup and semi-finals games of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, which aired on cable for the first time.

Network TV spending, however, dropped 7.2% in the second quarter and was affected by fewer March Madness and NBA playoff games than in the previous year, according to Katnar Media. Spot TV expenditures declined less than 1% as higher political spending was offset by reductions among automotive and telecom advertisers.

Internet and Print
Internet display spending grew 6.2% with more marketers raising their digital budgets. But spending in print -- not including the publishers' digital properties -- continued to drop in the second quarter despite an increase in spending for the majority of the 100 largest magazine advertisers. Local newspaper advertising fell almost 10%; national newspapers declined 16%; and consumer magazine spending was down 5.2%.

Top spenders
For the first six months of 2014, spending by the ten largest advertisers was $7.94 billion, a 1.9% increase compared to the first half of last year.

Procter & Gamble held onto its position as the largest advertiser, even though it decreased spending by 17.4% to $1.32 billion. After a small decline in the first quarter, P&G slashed spending by almost one-third during the second quarter. Kantar attributes the decrease to the advertiser's "atypically high volume of year-ago spending." "Q2 is also the end of P&G's fiscal year ago ad budgets may have been sacrificed to improve the balance sheet and meet financial targets.

Pfizer had the largest growth rate among the top-ten advertisers with a 25.1% percent increase to $711.8 million as it puts more resources behind Rx brands under patent protection, Kantar reported.

Spending was up for all three of the top-ten automotive advertisers thanks to "sharply higher spending" in the first quarter thanks to new launches and sporting events.



Jan.-June 2014 ($ Millions)

Jan.-June 2013 ($ Millions)

% Change


Procter & Gamble Co





General Motors Corp





AT&T Inc





Comcast Corp





L'Oreal SA





Pfizer Inc





Verizon Communications Inc





Berkshire Hathaway Inc





Toyota Motor Corp





Fiat Spa








Retail topped the list for the first half of the year with a 1% increase in spending to $7.18 billion. Insurance celebrated the largest growth rate of 16.7% among the top-ten categories due in part to an advertising surge for health-care coverage that extended beyond the March 31 enrollment deadline for Obamacare, according to Kantar.

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