With economic uncertainty, a declining real estate market and a depreciating currency, South Korea felt the full impact of the global recession in 2008. Ad spending fell 8 percent versus 2007 - the largest drop of the 12 countries Nielsen analyzed in Asia - with a drop of 19 percent in the fourth quarter. All outlets - TV, newspapers, magazines and radio - saw declines in spending.
Ad spending in the largest category - financing, insurance & securities - not surprisingly dropped 13 percent in 2008, while construction & real estate saw a 28 percent decline. Only three categories posted gains on a year-to-year basis: transportation equipment (27%), household goods (4%) and food (2%).
Telecommunications services were the three leading advertisers with KTF Show leading the way followed closely by Samsung Digital Anycall and Sk Telecom. Unlike the other two companies, however, KTF Show drastically pared back spending in the fourth quarter, while Samsung Digital and Sk Telecom were more consistent over the course of the year.