Broadcast TV Ad Revenue Falls 4% as Auto Pulls Back

17 of Top 25 Ad Categories Reduced Spending in Q2

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NEW YORK ( -- Total broadcast TV ad revenue fell 4% in the second quarter of 2008, and 1.3% for the first half of the year, according to an analysis by the Television Bureau of Advertising. The numbers re-emphasize the tough environment in which the medium finds itself.

Network TV ad revenue was down 4.8% in the quarter, and local broadcast ad revenue fell 9.1%, while syndicated TV ad revenue was up 9.1%, the TVB said, citing statistics culled from TNS Media Intelligence. For the first half of 2008, network TV ad revenue fell 1.5%, local broadcast ad revenue fell 3.8% and syndicated TV was up 10.2%, the industry organization said.

The figures come as media buyers have said that third-quarter scatter advertising, or ad time purchased closer to the time it airs, has been sluggish, and also as advertisers have dithered over whether or not to trim some of the dollars they committed to network TV in the upfront. Media buyers say clients and networks have seemed nervous about whether all the money put down by advertisers during upfront negotiations will remain available as marketers try to navigate their way through a tougher-than-expected economic time.

Most spending less
Among the top 25 TV-ad spending categories, 17 spent less than in the same quarter a year earlier, and only eight spent more. Automotive, the top category, was down 17%, while telecommunications dipped 2.3%, restaurants fell 3.3% and car and truck dealers fell 13.8%.

Local broadcast TV's top 10 individual advertisers spent in a similar pattern during the quarter. While Chrysler-Cerberus, the top spender, was up 0.9%, the No. 2 spender, Ford Motor Co. Dealers Association, was down 7.9%, TVB said. AT&T spending fell 28.2%, and Nissan Motor Co.'s fell 13.3%. Toyota Motor Corp Dealers Association ad spending fell 5.1%, and Honda Motor Co. ad spending fell 5.5%. Ad spending by Comcast Corp., meanwhile, was up 68.5%. Toyota Motor Corp ad spending was down 2.9%. General Motors Corp. increased 5.7%. Verizon Communications ad spending fell 29.9%.
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