TV Ad Spending Grew In Q1: TNS

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The strike by the Writers Guild of America apparently had a negligible effect on network and cable TV ad sales during the first quarter, according to TNS Media Intelligence.


In a report released June 11, the advertising and marketing information firm said network TV expenditures actually increased 0.8%, its best quarterly performance in two full years. 


Cable TV ad spending was still healthy with a 4.1% increase, albeit that rate slowed compared to recent quarters.


Syndicated TV grew 11.2%, a growth rate attributed to more hours of programming and limited exposure to the writer's strike, according to TNS. 


Internet ad sales fell back from double-digits, posting a quarterly gain of 8.5%. The softness is attributable to consumer anxiety over food, gas and housing prices, which is diminishing retail sales across the board.


Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research for TNS, said that cable sales were strong in January and February, and somewhat weak in March. Early April numbers, he said, showed some resurgence. The volatility in monthly numbers demonstrates that advertisers are more cautious and hesitant about spending, cutting the lead times between the decision to purchase and the time ads appear.


As for the impact of the WGA strike, the top 50 advertisers split their buys with 70% on broadcast networks and 30% on cable channels, the same proportion normally allocated against those media. It appears, during the strike, advertisers “absorbed the pain, took their make-goods and went on their way,” Swallen said.

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