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Nielsen Report: Media Ad Spending Down by Almost $4 Billion in Q1

What’s the best sector of the media to be an ad sales executive these days? According to Nielsen’s latest quarterly ad spending data its Spanish-language cable TV. The tiny media sector declined only 1.1% against a backdrop of a 12% drop across all media in the first quarter. 

And the worst place? A local Sunday newspaper supplement; falling 37.7% in the period. According to Nielsen’s numbers just released this afternoon, U.S. ad spending was down $3.8 billion for a total of $27.9 billion inn the first quarter.

The biggest media category Network TV -  taking in $5.76 billion in ad dollars in the first quarter - didn’t fare too badly.  Network TV dollars were off 4.8%. By comparison, Nielsen’s Internet category fell 3.4%. Hit surprisingly hard in the quarter were syndicators and local. The segment dropped 18.8%, while spot TV in the top 100 DMAs fell 15.6%. Cable TV performed well, notching only a 2.7% decline in dollars for the period.  \Nielsen’s statement just released Monday, shows television remains the dominant medium for advertisers, accounting for two-thirds of all ad dollars.

In terms of category pullback, autos (including factory and dealers) topped the list, reducing spend by 27.7% to $1.9 billion, local auto dealerships dropped 24.1% to $857 million. Pharmaceuticals also pulled back 11% to $1 billion. Those boosting spending in the quarter included quick service restaurants such as Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Yum! Brands, wireless phones and direct response advertisers.