Ad spending in the first half of 2009 dropped by 15.4%, or some $10.3 billion, to $56.9 billion, according to the latest Nielsen figures. Cable TV was the only medium to show growth, with ad spending up 1.5%.
That represented a big rebound for the medium, which was down 2.7% in the first quarter.
Cable even helped itself out, with cable services spending almost $500 million on advertising, a 62.3% jump in spending, to woo new customers, according to Nielsen which called the boost "a direct result of ad buys this year leading up to June's DTV transition."
The biggest decliner among TV advertising categories was local spot TV in the smaller markets (DMAs 101-210), down 32.1%. Spot TV in the top 100 markets declined 17.4%, syndication was off 11.6% and network TV decreased 7%.
Not surprisingly, automotive saw the biggest drop of any ad category in the top 10 spenders, with factory and dealer associations down 31.4% to 3.68 billion and dealerships down 26.2% to $1.69 billion.
The only gainers among the top 10 spenders were direct response, up 6.7%; wireless, 1.3%; and motion pictures,1.7%.
The biggest percentage gainers among all advertisers were mobile phones, up a whopping 104%, and the DTV-transition-driven cable advertisers.