US Advertising Continues to Imitate a Stone - eMarketer
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US Advertising Continues to Imitate a Stone

Dropping, dropping…

May 11, 2009

The US advertising industry has not had much good news lately, and it certainly did not get any from the figures TNS Media Intelligence released last week.

According to TNS, after months of decline, Q4 2008 saw US ad spending fall even farther, down 9.2% year over year.

For perspective, that is more than twice the 4.1% drop for 2008 as a whole, and TNS expects the spending slide to persist through 2009.

One bright spot in the TNS report was Internet advertising, which grew by 4.6% in 2008, but even that news was dimmed: That was the weakest full-year growth for online advertising since the dot-com bust of 2002.

US Advertising Spending Growth, by Media, Q4 2008 & Full year 2008 (% change)

The other media channels that showed growth over the year were syndicated TV, up 6.5%; Spanish-language magazines, up 4.9%; cable TV, up 2.1%; free-standing inserts, up 1.8%; and Spanish-language TV, which eked out a 0.1% gain.

Those small gains, however, were more than offset by losses in the larger channels of network TV, down 0.8%; magazines, down 7.5%; newspapers, down 11.8%; and radio, which fell 10.3%.

“The ad market at 2008 year end was buffeted by a souring economy, deteriorating consumer confidence and weakening corporate balance sheets,” said Jon Swallen of TNS. “Preliminary figures from the first quarter of 2009 indicate little change in the health of the overall ad economy as total spending continues to contract sharply.”

According to TNS, total US advertising expenditures declined to $141.7 billion in 2008.

By comparison, eMarketer estimated that total US ad spending dropped 3.6% in 2008—to $269.5 billion.

US Total Media Advertising Spending Growth, 2007-2013 (% change)

Luckily, after 2010 the future starts to look brighter for the industry. But this year and next will continue to be rocky.

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