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Nielsen: U.S. Ad Spending Down 9% In 2009

U.S. ad spending fell about 9% in 2009, with network television and syndication taking a harder hit than many other media platforms, according to a study from Nielsen released Feb. 24.

Overall spending was down 9%, from $128.6 billion in 2008 to $117 billion in 2009. Network television was down 9.9%, slightly below average, dropping from $22 billion to $19.8 billion. Syndicated TV was down 14.7%, with spot TV in the 101-2010 markets down 14.2%, and the top 100 markets down 16.1%.

But the news was not all dour among the television businesses; cable TV and Spanish-language cable TV bucked the trend, both up double digits over 2008. Cable TV was up 14.8%, while Spanish-language cable was up a whopping 32.2%, tops among all the media platforms Nielsen looked at.

"Fourth quarter ad spending was down just two percent year-over-year, and that helped soften the full-year decline," said Terrie Brennan, senior VP for new business development at The Nielsen Company, in announcing the study. "In fact, most of the top advertisers showed increased spending late in the year. These are encouraging signs for an ad market that's still trying to stop the bleeding."