US Adspend: End of Tunnel in Sight?

27 August 2002

The US adspend slump appears to be bottoming-out, according to the latest H1 data from Taylor Nelson Sofres’ CMR.

During the year’s first half, total spend across most US media reached $53.7 billion (€55.08bn; £35.20bn), just 0.2% below the same period in 2001 – before the adspend drought really began to bite.

New York-based CMR, which monitors spend in TV, magazines, newspapers and other media outlets, reports that the recovery trend was led by network TV (+4.2% to $10.38 billion) and radio (+7.5% to $4.16 billion). Spanish-language network TV especially benefited from an upsurge in adspend during the World Cup, soaring by 27% to $959 million. Cable TV, however, languished, sinking 9.7% to $4.94 billion from $5.48 billion a year earlier.

Consumer and Sunday magazines also fared less well, but their rate of decline eased considerably, down 3.7% from $8.67bn to $8.35bn. Business-to-business magazines slid sharply from $3.22bn in H1 2001 to $2.55bn – a decline of 21% driven by the failure of certain publications such as The Industry Standard.

Pontificating on the data, Standard & Poor's chief economist David Wyss opined that the real turnround in adspend will happen in 2003 when – given that consumer spending and corporate profitability continue to improve – he expects advertising outlays to increase by 5.1%. This year, meantime, he predicts that spend will increase 2.7%.

Wyss’ outlook is far more upbeat than that of WPP Group’s Sir Martin Sorrell who purports to see no recovery until 2004 [WAMN: 19-Aug-02]. But Wyss, of course, will get no plaudits for being wrong.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff