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Nielsen: Ad Spending Falls 2.6% in U.S. for ‘08

Media advertising fell 2.6% in 2008 compared to spending the previous year, according to a preliminary report from Nielsen. Total spending for the year tallied $136.8 billion, a decrease of $3.7 billion in ad expenditures from 2007. 

The top 10 advertisers spent 15% less in 2008. Proctor & Gamble, the top advertiser, spent 19% less than 2007 while General Motors also cut ad spending by double digits with a 15% decrease.

While numbers were down across the board, television continued to be the major medium for advertisers, with 60% of all ad dollars being spent on network, cable, Hispanic, or spot TV.  

Cable television was the only medium in the industry to see revenue generated from ad sales. Hispanic cable TV increased by 9.6% while cable overall saw a 7.8% growth rate. Cable earned $26.6 billion for the year, the highest revenue-generating market in media.  

Every other medium saw ad revenue decreases including broadcast network TV, which dropped 3.5%, earning $22.1 billion in ad revenue.  Syndication TV was down as well, dropping off 0.8%.  Internet revenue fell 6.4% but Nielsen numbers only account for CPM-based, image-based advertising and not other forms of revenue such as paid search advertising, pre-rolls, messenger applications and partnerships or promotion campaigns.  

Newspapers were hit hardest by the barren ad climate. Local newspaper advertising dropped 10.2%, while local Sunday paper supplements fell off 11%, the hardest hit of all medium.