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U.S. Ad Spending Fell 12% in the First Quarter, Nielsen Reports

NEW YORK, NY June 8, 2009 – The Nielsen Company reported today that U.S. advertising for the first quarter 2009 was down 12% compared to the first quarter 2008. Preliminary figures show that U.S. ad expenditures declined $3.8 billion to a total spend of $27.9 billion in the first quarter.

All measured media showed negative growth in this difficult economy, ranging from Spanish-Language Cable TV (-1.1%) to Local Sunday Supplements (-37.7%).

Media Category Q1 2009 vs. Q1 2008
% Change
Spanish-Language Cable TV -1.1%
Cable TV -2.7%
Internet* -3.4%
Network TV -4.8%
FSI Coupon -7.5%
Spot Radio -9.0%
Outdoor -10.7%
Network Radio -12.6%
Spanish-Language TV -13.8%
Local Newspaper -14.3%
Spot TV Top 100 DMAs -15.6%
Syndication TV -18.8%
National Magazine -20.6%
Local Magazine -23.6%
National Sunday Supplement -25.9%
National Newspaper -27.7%
Spot TV 101-210 DMAs -28.9%
B-to-B Magazines -29.9%
Local Sunday Supplements -37.7%
TOTAL -12%

Source: The Nielsen Company

* 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 and email campaigns, or house advertising activity.

“These first quarter results will hardly come as a surprise to an advertising industry that’s struggling just like many other areas of the American economy,” said Annie Touliatos, VP of Sales Development for Monitor-Plus, Nielsen’s ad tracking service. “Now more than ever it’s important for buyers and sellers to adjust to the changing competitive landscape by carefully analyzing the wide range of advertising intelligence that Nielsen can offer.”

Television remains the dominant medium for advertisers, accounting for two-thirds of all ad dollars. Network TV, the largest media category with $5.76 billion in ad dollars in the first quarter, declined 4.8%. Spanish-Language Cable TV fared best, falling only 1.1%, while Syndication was hit the hardest at -18.8%. However, one bright spot was African-American television (a subset of Network, Cable, Syndicated, and Local), which grew a healthy 7.9%.

Product Category Ad Spending

Automotive continued its downward slide, slashing spend by almost $723 million, or 27.7% in the first quarter 2009. Local Auto Dealerships also cut back spending significantly, declining 24.1% ($271 million) in the first quarter of 2009. Over 3,000 dealerships ceased advertising altogether.

Direct Response products continued to climb (+14%) mainly due to increased advertising for Heat Surge Heaters, Snuggie Blankets, Rosetta Stone Computer Software, and Video Professor Computer Software.

Quick Service Restaurant ad spend is thriving through the economic downturn and showed added spending from many companies, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Yum! Brands, Subway, and TPG Capital (Burger King).

Product Category Q1 2009 $ mil Q1 2008 $ mil % Change
Automotive
(Factory & Dealer Assoc.)
$ 1,886.8 $ 2,610.0 -27.7%
Quick Service Restaurant $ 1,086.9 $ 1,009.3 7.7%
Pharmaceutical $ 1,071.5 $ 1,208.3 -11.3%
Wireless Telephone Services $ 954.9 $ 917.4 4.1%
Motion Picture $ 878.8 $ 903.2 -2.7%
Auto Dealerships – Local $ 857.3 $ 1,129.0 -24.1%
Direct Response Product $ 665.5 $ 583.4 14.1%
Department Stores $ 649.6 $ 710.0 -8.5%
Restaurants $ 428.0 $ 424.9 0.7%
Furniture Stores $ 403.1 $ 412.4 -2.3%
Total Top 10 Product Categories $ 8,882.4 $ 9,907.8 -10.3%

Source: The Nielsen Company
NOTE: Data excludes B-to-B Magazine spending