TNS Report: Ad Expenditures Drop 4.1% in 2008

Total ad expenditures dropped 4.1 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, according to a report from TNS Media Intelligence. Ad spending during Q4 2008 fell 9.2 percent against the same quarter in 2007.  

Internet display advertising grew 4.6 percent in 2008 but that was the weakest full-year rise for the medium since 2002.  The biggest increase in ad expenditures for the year was syndication TV (up 6.5 percent). Spanish-language magazines (+4.9 percent), cable TV (+2.1 percent), free standing inserts (+1.8 percent), and Spanish-language TV (+0.1 percent) were the only other media categories to achieve full-year growth.

Broadcast TV, hit hard by pullbacks from automotive, financial services, and retail advertisers, saw ad revenue shrink.  Spot TV dropped 2.8 percent and network TV fell of 0.8 percent. Overall, television media, which rose 0.1 percent from 2007-2008, dropped 5.1 percent from Q4 2008 compared to Q4 2007. Network TV saw a 10.6 percent decrease.  

Newspapers lost the most ad revenue. The medium experienced an 11.8 percent decrease for the full year from 2007-2008 and it dropped 16.5 percent in Q4 2008 compared to the last quarter of 2007. While other Spanish-language media were up, Spanish-language newspapers fell 18.3 percent from Q4 2008 to Q4 2007.

The largest advertiser across all media, Proctor & Gamble, spent 7 percent less than a year ago, totaling $3.2 billion for 2008. Verizon Communications was the second largest advertiser. The company actually spent more ad money in 2008 compared to ’07 with $2.4 billion in expenditures. Competitor AT&T reduced its outlays to $1.9 billion, a decrease of 10.4 percent year-to-year.

Automotive remained the biggest advertising category in 2008, but reduced spending from $15.1 billion in 2007 to $12.7 billion last year. Financial services was the second biggest ad category, dropping from $9.7 billion in 2007 to $9.6 billion last year. Local services ranked third in ad categories, with slightly more ad expenditures in 2008 with $8.59 billion compared to $8.57 billion in 2007.