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Nielsen: African-American TV ad spending grew 31% in first three quarters

(December 10, 2009) According to Nielsen, spending on advertising fell 11.5 percent in the first three quarters of 2009, compared to the same time period in 2008. Preliminary figures show that expenditures fell $10.9 billion to a total spend of $83.4 billion in the first nine months of the year.

One of the brightest spots in an otherwise dismal trend was African-American TV (including Network, Cable, Syndicated, and Local programs) which enjoyed a 31 percent increase in spending. It was the second largest increase of any category.

Cable TV (+ 9.1%), Spanish Language Cable TV (+36.7%), and Free-Standing Insert (FSI) Coupons (+11.2%) also posted growth. The remaining media suffered declines, ranging from Internet (-0.5%) to Local Sunday Supplements (-48.3%).

"The struggling economy continues to take its toll on the advertising industry, with most sectors lower than last year," said Terrie Brennan, Senior VP for New Business Development at Nielsen. "In general, television -- particularly cable television -- seems to be holding up better than print-based media. For example, Local Newspapers have seen 12,000 fewer advertisers in their pages in 2009. Meanwhile, nine of the top ten Cable TV advertisers have increased their spending in the medium so far this year."

Spanish language television's ad spend (cable and network combined) fell a slight 0.7 percent. Overall, TV ad spending fell 8.3 percent year-to-year through the first three quarters. But ads placed on television accounted for 56.8 percent of all advertising expenditures so far this year, up two percentage points over the same period in 2008.

Product Category Advertising
Automotive continued its reign as the top ad-spending category through the first three quarters of 2009, despite a nearly 31 percent decline. The Pharmaceutical category placed a far second, even with a 4.6 percent decline of its own. Only two categories in the top ten showed any growth: Direct Response Products (+3.3%) and Quick Service Restaurants (+1.8%).

Further Nielsen analysis of the top product categories unveils some revealing insights on where their money was spent through the first three quarters of 2009:

Almost 70 percent of all U.S. ad spending by the top ten product categories was invested in television.
Despite Pharmaceutical's overall decline, the category upped its radio ad spend 137 percent and its Internet spend increased by one-third.

Television ad spend by Quick Service Restaurants remained essentially flat year-over-year, but the category dramatically boosted its print (+42%) and Internet (+88%) budgets.

Local Auto Dealerships dropped their overall ad budgets 27 percent, but increased Internet ad spends 45 percent. The category is also the only one out the top ten that spent more on print media ($1.5 billion) than TV ($610 million) in the first nine months of the year.

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