News

Cable Ad Spending Lags Behind

12/12/2006 6:26 AM Eastern

Advertising spending for the first three quarters of this year rose 5.1% over the same period last year due to increases across many major media, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the advertising-intelligence service of Nielsen Media Research.

Ad spending increased in most reported media, led by the Internet (49.2%), Spanish-language TV (16.6%), national newspapers (8.4%) and spot TV top-100 markets (7.4%).

Growth in several media remained relatively flat or decreased year-over-year including smaller spot TV markets, business-to-business magazines, local newspapers and spot and network radio. National cable TV was only up 1.3%.

“The recent midterm elections have contributed significantly in increased ad spending in the top 100 television markets and, because all of the political ads were local, it led to an uplift in spot TV ad revenues, particularly in the third quarter,” Nielsen Monitor-Plus managing director Jeffrey King said in a prepared statement.

Last week, TNS Media Intelligence put out its first-nine-month ad-spending figures. TNS’ estimate was 4% growth, slightly less than Nielsen’s 5.1% figure.

Advertising spending for the top 10 companies reached $12.9 billion, up 4.3% from last year. Most major advertisers experienced growth. AT&T and Verizon Communications showed the greatest growth in terms of percent, at 47.7% and 24.9%, respectively.

A portion of this increase was due to merger-and-acquisition activity. Specifically, since the acquisition of AT&T by SBC Communications and the rebranding of SBC as AT&T, ad spending has grown significantly this year. Also this year, Verizon completed its purchase of MCI and increased ad spending for the year. In addition, both companies greatly increased their spending in their Internet-service/Web-access business units.

Offsetting these significant increases, two of the three automotive advertisers cut ad spending. Specifically, General Motors’ spending was down 15% and DaimlerChrysler had decreased its ad spend by 3.6%, while Toyota Motor Sales increased spending by 14% over the same period a year ago.

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