Ad spending down 14 percent – but it’s not getting worse!

September 16, 2009

Over the last few days executives at Goldman Sachs’ Communicopia have talked about a stabilizing — or even improving — advertising market.

It’s not the only time they’ve talked about stabilization. It was the watchword of investors calls as far back as last spring. And it appears they were right. New figures out from TNS Media Intelligence show the advertising market wasn’t any worse in the second quarter than it was in the first.

That’s cold comfort considering the data show that advertising spending in the second quarter sank 13.9 percent from a year ago. For the first six months of 2009, spending is down some 14.3 percent from a year ago, or more than $10 billion in lost TV spots, print ads and radio jingles.

Here’s how TNS research guru Jon Swallen described it in a prepared statement:

While it’s tempting to interpret this as a positive indicator that things aren’t getting worse, the fact remains that the market has been steadily tracking at around 14 percent declines for several consecutive months and this represents billions of lost revenue. Early data from third quarter hint at possible improvements for some media due to easy comparisons against distressed levels of year ago expenditures.

The worst hit category for the first six months was automotive, with spending down 31 percent. Others that fared poorly (to nobody’s surprise) included financial services, down 24 percent; miscellaneous retail, down 18 percent; and travel & tourism, down 15 percent. Housing related advertising, which covers several categories, tumbled 29 percent.

And the prize for the worst media sector over the first six months goes to… radio. Spending on those pesky radio ads fell 24.6 percent, a touch more than newspapers at 24.2 percent.

But hey, at least the market isn’t getting worse.

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Great, thought-provoking post.Great article here! Very clear and informative; well written and I can see you put a lot of time and effort into it. Good job! Looking forward to reading your next post…

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