Local TV Spending Down 1.6% in First Quarter

Network Up 1.7%; Syndie Spending Up 11.2%

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Advertiser expenditures on local broadcast TV fell 1.6% in the first quarter of 2008, even as ad dollars continued to flow to network and syndicated TV, according to an analysis of TNS Media Intelligence figures for the top 100 population markets by the Television Advertising Bureau.

Ad dollars spent on local TV fell to about $3.97 billion in the first quarter, down from about $4.04 billion in the year-earlier period, TVB said. Meanwhile, ad spending on syndicated TV increased 11.2% to about $1.1 billion from about $986.8 million, and spending on network TV increased 1.7% to about $6.85 billion from about $6.73 billion. Ad spending on broadcast TV in total increased 1.4% during the period.

Car dealership cutbacks
Local broadcasters appear to have been hit by auto dealership associations -- a long-standing and perennial advertiser on local TV stations -- pulling back on their ad spending.

The TVB said General Motors Corp. Dealers Association spent 23.6% less on local TV, while Toyota Motor Corp. Dealers Association trimmed its spending by 9%, Honda Motor Co. reduced ad outlays on local TV by 29.8% and Chrysler reduced local-TV ad spending by 11.7%. All are among the top 10 spenders on local TV stations. Even so, Ford Motor Co. Dealers Association raised its spending by 28.9%. AT&T, another top 10 local-TV ad spender, reduced local-TV ad spending by 28.8%, the TVB said.

In all, automotive ad spending, the No. 1 ad category for local stations, fell 13%, while spending by car and truck dealers was off 3.6%. Financial advertising fell 5.5% and spending by furniture stores was off 5%.
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