Ad spending dropped in the fourth quarter, the first quarterly drop since the recession, leaving 2011 with a growth rate of 0.8%.
According to new figures from Kantar Media, TV performed better in 2011 than other traditional media, showing a 3.1% gain in the quarter and 2.4% growth for the year.
Network TV was up 7.7% in the quarter, thanks to a seven-game World Series, strong pricing for football and the launch of The X Factor. Cable TV showed a 2.4% increase in the fourth quarter.
Ad spending on Spanish-language TV was up 19.1% in the quarter and syndication showed a 11% jump, thanks to increased expenditures by department stores and health and beauty brands.
Spot TV was down 8.7% in the quarter.
"The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011," Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America, said in a statement. "Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds."
For the full year, network TV ad spending was down 2%. Cable rose 7.7%, Spanish-language TV gained 8.3% and syndication rose 15.4%. Full year spending on spot TV dropped 4.5%.
Among the ten biggest advertisers, six had lower advertising spending, including Procter & Gamble, AT&T, General Motors, Verizon, Pfizer and News Corp. Spending by automaker Chrysler was up 36.2%.