TNS: 1H ‘08 U.S. Ad Revenue Slips 1.6%

Total U.S. ad spending fell 1.6% in the first six months of 2008, as a downtrend accelerated at the end of the time frame, TNS Media Intelligence said Wednesday.

That figure compares to a similar 1.6% drop Nielsen Monitor-Plus estimated for the identical first-half time frame.

Overall for TV, TNS said ad revenue fell 0.4% in what is an average between winning and losing subcategories. Barter syndication shined with a 10.2% gain and cable TV rose 3.1%. However, spot TV dropped 4.4%, network-TV ad revenue declined 2.4% and Spanish-language TV slipped 0.1%.

TNS noted that “ad spending during the second quarter of 2008 was off 3.7% versus last year, the steepest quarterly drop since 2001.”

“Advertising expenditures started to contract in March, well before the September turbulence on Wall Street renewed concerns about the health of the economy and possible collateral damage to the ad market,” TNS Media Intelligence senior vice president of research Jon Swallen said in a statement. “Second-half results, particularly for television media, will be bolstered by the Summer [Olympic Games] and political elections. However, sustained improvement will most likely depend on a turnaround in consumer spending.”

Percent Change in Measured Ad Spending, Jan.-June 2008 vs. Jan.-June 2007

MEDIA SECTOR (Media Type)/% Change


Network TV/-2.4%

Cable TV/+3.1%

Spot TV/-4.4%

Spanish-language TV/-0.1%

Syndication (national)/+10.2%


Consumer magazines/-1.8%

B2B magazines/-5.9%

Sunday magazines/+4.8%

Local magazines/-2.8%

Spanish-language magazines/+7.1%



Local radio/-7.5%

National spot radio/-7.4%

Network radio/+3.4%