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TV Takes in 60 Percent of U.S. Ad Revenue in 2008

NEW YORK: U.S. ad spending fell last year across all platforms but cable. The total spent for advertising across TV, radio, print, outdoor and Internet was $136.8 billion in 2008, Nielsen reported, about $3.7 billion less than the previous year. Cable was the top revenue-generating platform, with $26.6 billion in sales. All TV platforms took in the most dollars of any media form, pulling in 60 percent of the total for 2008.

Nielsen didn't provide the broadcast network TV total, but the sector was down 3.5 percent. Local spot in the top 100 TV markets was down just 0.3 percent. Smaller markets suffered more, with a drop of 4.6 percent for local spot in DMA Nos. 101–210.

Television suffered the most from the meltdown in the auto industry, which in turn dropped $1.8 billion less on advertising in '08 than in '07. Pharmaceuticals, the No. 2 product category, scaled back spending by $1 billion. Fast Food joints and direct-response products like Video Professor and Rosetta Stone increased ad spending collectively by nearly $366 million—merely a fraction of the drop in drugs and cars.

Total ad spending in the top 10 categories was $39 million, down nearly 9 percent from about $43 million in 2007.

In terms of individual advertisers, Proctor & Gamble remained No. 1, spending more than $2.8 billion in 2008. But that was nearly $683 million less than the previous year—a 19 percent decline. The Triplets of Bail-outville, Ford, GM and Chrysler, were still among the top 10, but their collective spending was down nearly $1.4 billion for the year.

Total spending by the top 10 companies was down nearly $2.8 billion, or 15 percent, from 2007.

A February report from Veronis Suhler Stevenson estimated that U.S. media spending grew by 2.3 percent last year, compared to Nielsen's assertion of a 2.6 percent decline, but they two take different sectors and categories into account. — Deborah D. McAdams

MEDIA CATEGORY 2008 vs. 2007 % Change
Hispanic Cable TV9.60%Cable TV7.80%Spot TV Top 100–0.30%Syndication TV–0.80%National Sunday Supplement–1.90%Hispanic Broadcast TV–2.40%Network Radio–3.30%Broadcast Network TV–3.50%Local Magazine–3.70%Spot Radio–4.00%Spot TV 101-210–4.60%Outdoor–5.00%FSI Coupon–5.20%Internet*–6.40%National Magazine–7.60%National Newspaper–9.60%Business to Business–9.70%Local Newspaper–10.20%Local Sunday Supplements–11.00%TOTAL–2.60%
*Internet advertising expenditures account for CPM-based, image-based ads but not paid search, text only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, sponsorships, barters, in-stream players, messenger applications, partnerships, promotions and e-mail campaigns or house advertising activity.