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Nielsen Reports 2008 U.S. Ad Spend Down 2.6%
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Nielsen Reports 2008 U.S. Ad Spend Down 2.6%

Advertising expenditures dropped 2.6% overall last year, according to data released today by The Nielsen Company. “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, VP 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.”

The automotive industry’s ad spending fell hardest in 2008. The industry slashed its spending by almost $1.8 billion, or 15.5%. Among the Big Three automakers, Chrysler (Cerberus Capital Management) and Ford Motor Co. cut advertising 31% and 29%, respectively. General Motors trimmed its advertising 1%.

Pharmaceuticals also cut back its spending significantly, declining 18% and almost $1 billion compared to 2007. Quick Service Restaurants, however, was the only category in the top 5 to spend more in 2008, with 3.8% more expenditures in 2008.

RANK Product Category Jan-Dec 2008 (millions) Jan-Dec 2007 (millions) % Change
1 Automotive $10,016.10 $11,854.40 -15.50%
2 Pharmaceutical $4,344.10 $5,325.30 -18.40%
3 Auto Dealerships – Local $4,198.30 $4,604.60 -8.80%
4 Quick Service Restaurant $4,080.50 $3,932.80 3.80%
5 Department Store $3,890.90 $3,994.20 -2.60%
6 Wireless Telephone Services $3,431.40 $3,731.60 -8.00%
7 Motion Pictures $3,322.10 $3,750.60 -11.40%
8 Direct Response Product $2,576.90 $2,358.90 9.20%
9 Restaurant $1,618.60 $1,619.40 0.00%
10 Furniture Stores $1,580.80 $1,636.20 -3.40%
  Top 10 Product Categories $39,060.00 $42,808.10 -8.80%
source: The Nielsen Company 2009

Cable TV was one of only two media (along with Hispanic Cable TV) whose ad spend showed growth in 2008. Its 7.8% jump in 2008 accounted for almost $2 billion in additional revenue for cable networks. Meanwhile, Network TV ad revenue declined 3.5% in 2008.

Print media continued its anticipated decline in 2008. Local and National Newspaper ad spends declined 10.2% and 9.6%, respectively. National Magazines fell 7.6%, while Local Magazines dropped 3.7%.

Procter & Gamble maintained its perch as the top advertiser this year, despite a 19% decline vs. 2007.

To see the full release from The Nielsen Company, including a media breakout and top advertising companies, click here.