Casting a pall over advertising

June 11, 2008

TNS is out with its quarterly advertising data. Frankly, it doesn’t look that hot.

The figures show that total measured ad spending rose just 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year ago, with budgets weaker in telecommunications and automotive.

Here’s how Jon Swallen, SVP Research at TNS media intelligence, described the quarter in a release: “Enduring concerns about economic conditions and consumer spending behavior continued to cast a pall over the advertising market during the first quarter. After a hopeful start to the year, the pace of ad spending slowed perceptibly during March and early figures from the second quarter indicate little immediate or sustained improvement in the core ad economy.”

One surprise is just how the spending breaks down by media. Internet display advertising rose 8.5 percent, but that’s below the double digit growth from last year. Cable and Outdoor also slowed compared to recent periods. And those have been the real drivers of ad spending growth.

So what was big? Try Sunday Magazines and Network Radio. Huh? Well, it seems both were boosted by an extra week in their reporting quarters.

That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence about how the second quarter will look.

In the meantime, here’s what spending by the top advertisers looked like during the first quarter:

Chart

(Source: TNS)

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