Nielsen: Ad spending down, but cable a bright spot

Fri, 03/13/2009 - 8:30am
Mike Robuck

The Nielsen Co. reported today that advertising across the nation was down 2.6 percent last year compared with 2007, but cable TV was one of the few categories that showed growth in 2008.

According to preliminary figures from Nielsen, U.S. ad expenditures declined almost $3.7 billion to a total spend of $136.8 billion in 2008.

Hispanic cable TV and cable TV were the only two media to show ad growth in 2008, with increases of 9.6 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. Cable was the highest revenue-generating medium with $26.6 billion in sales.

"Given the state of the U.S. economy, a decline in ad spending was expected, but it's not as bad as it could have been," said Annie Touliatos, vice president of sales development for Monitor-Plus, Nielsen's ad tracking service. "The campaign season and the Summer Olympics were two big events that had a tremendous impact on advertising, especially on TV buys."

Nielsen said the top-10 advertisers spent a total of $15.5 billion in 2008, which was 15 percent less than the year before. Not a single one of the top-10 advertisers spent more in 2008 vs. 2007. Procter & Gamble maintained its perch as the top advertiser this year, despite a 19 percent decline vs. 2007.

Media category

2008 vs. 2007 percent change

Hispanic Cable TV

9.6 percent

Cable TV

7.8 percent

Spot TV Top 100

(0.3 percent)

Syndication TV

(0.8 percent)

National Sunday Supplement

(1.9 percent)

Hispanic Broadcast TV

(2.4 percent)

Network Radio

(3.3 percent)

Broadcast Network TV

(3.5 percent)

Local Magazine

(3.7 percent)

Spot Radio

(4 percent)

Spot TV 101-210

(4.6 percent)


(5 percent)

FSI Coupon

(5.2 percent)


(6.4 percent)

National Magazine

(7.6 percent)

National Newspaper

(9.6 percent)

Business to Business

(9.7 percent)

Local Newspaper

(10.2 percent)

Local Sunday Supplements

(11 percent)


(2.6 percent)

Source: The Nielsen Co.
* Internet advertising expenditures account for CPM-based, image-based advertising. These reported estimated expenditures do not account for paid search advertising, text-only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, sponsorships, barters, in-stream ("pre-rolls") players, messenger applications, partnership advertising, promotions, e-mail campaigns or house advertising activity.


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•  Nielsen: Ad spending down, but cable a bright spot
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