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First quarter ad dollars drop 5%

Competitive Media Reporting, the New York ad tracker said first quarter domestic ad spending was down 5.2% overall for the first quarter to $22.6 billion.

Network TV was down 2.2% to $5.2 billion. And despite predictions of a big fall off for syndication TV this coming upfront, the medium posted a 5.5% gain in the first quarter to $811.2 million, according to the CMR data. Cable TV posted a 6.6% gain to almost $2.5 billion. National spot TV was down 15% to $3.5 billion. Radio was way down for both network and spot. Network was down 18% to $182.5 million and spot was down 24% to $433.3 million.

Seven of the top 10 advertisers for the quarter posted ad spending declines including General Motors, the biggest spender, but whose billings were down 24% to $516 million. Ford was down 19%. But spending was up sharply at second-ranked AOL Time Warner, which spent $383 million, up 29%. - Steve McClellan