Wireless Phone Companies Spent $4 Billion On Ads In 2007

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Wireless phone companies last year spent $4.1 billion on advertising—an increase of $431 million, or 12%, over 2006, Nielsen Monitor-Plus reported Wednesday.

More than one-third of the total ad spend in 2007 went to broadcast-network television, or $1.4 billion, followed by cable television at $814.6—up 20%—and spot television checked in at $627.5 million, up 15%, according to Monitor-Plus.

Broadcast-network television, which grew by $334 million, a more than 30% gain over 2006, showed the largest dollar increase last year.

Overall, ad spending by companies within the wireless phone services category grew by 67% during the past five years, from $2.45 billion in 2003.

Spending by the Top 5 wireless-carrier advertisers—Verizon Communications, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Deutsche Telekom AG and Alltel—totaled $3.89 billion in 2007, a 16% increase from 2006, according to Monitor-Plus. Verizon, last year’s largest advertiser, spent $1.2 billion on advertising in 2007, a 13% increase over 2006.

Alltel, which introduced spending for its text messaging services in 2007, showed the largest percentage increase from 2006 to 2007, up 62%, or $75.6 million. That new area of advertising accounted for $13 million of Alltel’s $75.6 million ad spend increase last year. In addition, the company doubled its spending for its wireless telephone service—from $47.7 million in 2006 to $95.6 million last year.

Nielsen’s Monitor-Plus ad-tracking service also found that ad spending for phones with both Internet and data capabilities is growing steadily. In 2007, multi-function phone advertisers spent $300 million, a 1117% increase over 2001, when advertisers in that category spent just $24.6 million.

Ad spending for voice-service-only mobile phones decreased sharply during the same time frame, from $63.1 million in 2001 to $4.7 million in 2007.

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