Not much good news in advertising today.First came the TNS Media Intelligence numbers, which, though dated, paint an awfully grim picture. First quarter spending fell 14 percent, a big number in its own right, but even more startling when put in context. Take, for instance, the fourth quarter of 2008, when credit had completely dried up and companies were racing to cut marketing, staffing and every other expense. Ad spending then fell just 9 percent. Or how about the fourth quarter of 2001? After the bursting of the dotcom bubble and the attacks of Sept. 11? Spending dropped 11 percent that quarter.Again, the 14 percent is a backward looking number. The first quarter of 2009 is history. For that reason perhaps the news could be taken in stride — if not for a brief statement by TNS research Jon Swallen that was included in the press release.“While there are hopeful signs of general economic indicators bottoming out, the advertising sector still appears to be lagging behind. Available data from (the) second quarter shows ad expenditures tracking on a comparable plane to recent months.” That doesn’t sound like the market is getting any better.In addition to all of this from TNS, you had some less-than-upbeat comments from Interpublic Group at the Credit Suisse Global Media and Communications Convergence Conference this morning. Frank Mergenthaler, the finance chief of Interpublic, which owns agencies like DraftFCB and McCann-Erickson, made it clear that clients are still scared to write checks.Any signs that the economy is improving “have not manifested in people pulling the trigger on ratcheting up spending,” he said. “We are seeing signs, but those signs are more anecdotal than companies actually willing to spend.”Nothing too cheery there.(Photo: Reuters)
The top brass from Twitter and Facebook have been all over the place in recent days, starting with the Reuters Global Technology Summit. No matter the venue or the executive, the questions are pretty much the same: Are you going to put the company up for sale? If not, when are you going public? And how on earth are you going to make money? And when?
We’ll skip a rehash of yesterday’s news and interviews, but you can find articles just about anywhere you want. Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, BreakingViews, paidContent, Advertising Age, and, well, basically every other media outlet are carrying stories today about one or both of the web darlings.
So instead we’ll ask you a straightforward question. Which one — Facebook or Twitter — would you buy a piece of, if you could?
Upfront week is winding down, with the CW having rolled out its lineup. As Entertainment Weekly points out, the schedule is straight out of the early 90s. A quick look:
(New series in bold)
8-9 pm: Gossip Girl
9-10 pm: One Tree Hill
8-9 pm: 90210
9-10 pm: Melrose Place
8-9 pm: America’s Next Top Model
9-10 pm: The Beautiful Life
8-9 pm: The Vampire Diaries
9-10 pm: Supernatural
8-9 pm: Smallville
9-10pm: America’s Next Top Model (Encore)
(Reuters photo of “Gossip Girl” star Blake Lively)
As the New York Times puts it this morning: “Even after receiving $15.4 billion in federal loans, General Motors is once again on the brink of financial collapse.” The reason is that the automaker burned through $10.2 billion in the firs quarter, while revenue dropped by almost half to $22.4 billion.
Does that mean GM is heading for bankruptcy? Possibly. Does that mean more bad news for the advertising industry, which has been hard hit by the pullback in spending from automakers? Not necessarily.
News broke this week that Anheuser-Busch has told NBC that the brewer will spend only about half as much on advertising packages during the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and 2012 Summer Games in London, compared to previous years.
Over at 30 Rock, they aren’t too worried about it. NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker, who won wide praise for the company’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics, feels that there are plenty of advertisers ready to step in and replace any company that wants or needs to cut their spending on the sporting event.