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Auto Ads: National TV Sees The Benefit

National TV outlets are benefiting more than local TV from
increased ad spending in the auto sector, according to data from Kantar Media,
formerly TNS Media Intelligence. A report out January 28, also suggested that
domestic auto companies are outspending their foreign rivals.

Kantar Media noted that network TV and cable saw a 79% rise
in auto ad time during the two weeks ended January 10, traditionally a quiet
period for auto advertisers. Spot TV gained 54.9% over that same period. Kantar
tallied the weekly volume of second-by-second commercials from auto
manufacturers and dealer association groups on broadcast networks, cable
networks and local stations in the top 100 DMAs. The twelve weeks from October
19, 2009 to January 10 were compared against the same period last year. Over
that period, national TV gained 32.3% while spot TV was up 15.9% over the year
ago period.

According to Kantar Media SVP of research Jon Swallen, a
second trend line to emerge from recent ad time commitments is that domestic
manufacturers and dealer groups are out there spending more than their
foreign-owned counterparts. National TV ad time rose more than 100%, while spot
TV saw a 30% uptick, in ad time from domestics. Over the period, automotives
bought 101.7% more airtime than last year, while foreign spending was
essentially flat in national TV and up 4% in spot TV.

The unprecedented vehicle recall by Toyota could also buoy
the auto ad market as the firm uses media to explain its problems. Toyotas
difficulties also offers rivals a prime opportunity to jump in and steal away
Toyotas customers. General Motors is already looking to tailor messages to that
affect, according to media reports.

The auto category, historically TV's biggest spending
clients, has been in decline for the past 17 quarters but a variety of
indicators suggest the sector is slowly coming back. Kantars report was
prompted by several recent pieces of positive news on auto ad spending
including Sinclair Broadcasting raising its fourth quarter revenue estimate
citing increased activity from dealers and manufacturers and senior executives
at Audi, Hyundai and Toyota all reportedly saying marketing spend will be
higher in 2010. Discovery Communications said it has also seen improvement from
the auto category.

Kantar's Swallen compiled the report, but warned that ad
spending can be uneven and tied to seasonal events. His report suggests though
that if estimates of 2010 new vehicle sales from auto analysts pan out and
sales hit the 11 million mark, a 6% increase on last year then TV outlets might
have reason for cheer. If that rate of growth materializes, its reasonable to
expect industry ad spending to follow proportionately, read the report.