Nielsen: Cable Alone In ’08 Ad Growth

3/14/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Cable-television advertising grew 7.8% in 2008 to reach $26.6 billion in sales, representing the only category of U.S. advertising that showed growth for the year, according to preliminary figures Nielsen Media Research released Friday.

Cable, also the highest revenue-generating medium, was the sole bright spot in the otherwise deteriorating market for advertising. Overall U.S. ad expenditures declined almost $3.7 billion, or 2.6%, to a total spend of $136.8 billion in 2008, Nielsen said.

“Given the state of the U.S. economy, a decline in ad spending was expected, but it’s not as bad as it could have been,” said Annie Touliatos, vice president of Nielsen’s ad-tracking service, in a statement. The 2008 national elections and the Summer Olympics in Beijing were two major events that had “a tremendous impact on advertising, especially on TV buys,” she noted.

Broadcast TV advertising spending dropped 3.5%, but all told, television continued to be the dominant medium for advertisers, garnering 60% of all ad dollars spent (across network, cable, Hispanic and spot-TV categories).

Hispanic cable-TV ad spend was up even higher than the cable average, growing 9.6% in 2008. That pushed total Spanish-language TV advertising — network and cable combined — up 0.8% for the year, while African-American TV fell 3.4%.

Internet advertising dropped 6.4%, and print media continued its downward spiral as newspapers and magazines were the hardest-hit of all sectors. Local and national newspaper ad spends declined 10.2% and 9.6%, respectively; national magazines fell 7.6% and local magazines dropped 3.7%.

Spending by the 10 biggest U.S. advertisers dropped 15%, to $15.5 billion in 2008. Procter & Gamble maintained the No. 1 ranking despite cutting its ad budget 19% for the year.

The automotive industry slashed spending by almost $1.8 billion, or 15.5% compared with 2007, with Chrysler, Ford and GM cutting ad spending 31%, 29% and 15%, respectively.

Pharmaceuticals also cut back spending significantly, declining 18% compared with 2007. Quick-service restaurants was the only advertiser category to increase spending, up 3.8% in 2008.


Nielsen’s sales estimates by media category:

Media Category 2007-2008 Change
SOURCE: Nielsen Media Research
Hispanic Cable TV 9.6%
Cable TV 7.8%
Spot TV Top 100 -0.3%
Syndication TV -0.8%
National Sunday Supplement -1.9%
Hispanic Broadcast TV -2.4%
Network Radio -3.3%
Broadcast Network TV -3.5%
Local Magazine -3.7%
Spot Radio -4.0%
Spot TV 101-210 -4.6%
Outdoor -5.0%
FSI Coupon -5.2%
Internet -6.4%
National Magazine -7.6%
National Newspaper -9.6%
Business-to-Business -9.7%
Local Newspaper -10.2%
Local Sunday Supplements -11.0%
TOTAL -2.6%