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Local TV ads show sharp dip

Local TV advertising (including both local and national spot) was down 15% in the first quarter to $3,416,619,200, according to figures compiled by Competitive Media Reporting, the New York ad tracker.

The CMR numbers showed network advertising - including the big four, WB, UPN and Pax TV - to be down 2% to $4,969,561,200. Syndication spending was up 6% to $811,191,300. Combined, broadcast TV spending in the quarter was down 7% to $9,197,371,700.

The automotive category cut national spot spending by almost 19% in the quarter to $698,315,300. DaimlerChrysler, General Motors and Ford, all top-10 national spot advertisers, cut their budgets by more than 30% in the first quarter.

But a handful of top 25 advertisers showed double digit spending increases-a tactic the Television Bureau of Advertising and the Four A's have been promoting as a way to gain market share in a soft economy. Two top 25 advertisers showed triple-digit spending increases in national spot - Verizon, up 203% and Unilever, up 125%. - Steve McClellan