US ad recovery strengthens

05 January 2011

NEW YORK: The US advertising recovery is continuing to strengthen, as brand owners like Procter & Gamble, AT&T and General Motors boost their spending.

Research firm Kantar Media reported that expenditure during the first nine months of 2010 rose 6.4% year-on-year to $94.1bn (€70.1bn; £60.2bn).

This included an 8.7% improvement in Q3, the most sizeable increase since 2004.

More specifically, television delivered a 10.5% surge from January to September, with traditional networks up 6.1%, a total reaching 9% regarding their cable counterparts, and 11.9% covering spot TV.

Spanish-language broadcasters saw 11.9% growth, but syndicated national demand slumped 8.3%.

Magazines experienced a 2.6% expansion, peaking at 8.1% for Sunday titles and 5.2% in Spanish-language publications, while business-to-business and local offerings observed further declines.

Newspapers posted a 2.9% contraction, as the 6.8% gain for the nationals – especially the Wall Street Journal – was offset by a 4.4% dip among the local press.

Elsewhere, internet display returns climbed 7.7%, radio enjoyed a 6.2% increase and outdoor sales rose 7.3%.

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, increased its budget by 18.7% to $2.3bn, although advertising expenses remained flat in Q3.

AT&T, in second, raised investment levels by 15.7% to $1.5bn, primarily benefitting the organisation's consumer TV service.

General Motors, the automaker, spent $1.48bn, compared with $1.3bn for the corresponding period in 2009.

Less positively, Verizon slashed 13.1% from its outlay, on $1.4bn, still some way ahead of News Corp, in fifth on $985m, bettering the opening three quarters of the preceding year by 8%.

Healthcare and pharma titan Johnson & Johnson cut back by 7.3% to $950m, while Pfizer and Time Warner were essentially static on $895m and $863m.

General Electric, improving 5.4% to $793m, and Walt Disney, up 4% to $777m, completed the top ten.

Overall, these corporations boasted a collected expenditure of $11.9bn, a 5.9% increase, a slower acceleration than the 7.3% lift provided by the top 1,000 advertisers, but outpacing the 3.3% growth outside this group.

"The advertising recovery expanded during the third quarter to include stronger participation by the long-tail of marketers beyond the top 1000," said Jon Swallen, Kantar Media's svp, research.

"Having fewer resources, this segment was previously cautious about raising budgets and it lagged behind the early year rebound in ad spending."

"Smaller advertisers are now as fully vested as their large counterparts and in that sense, the advertising recovery has reached a significant milestone."

The automotive category posted 23.7% growth and generated $9.2bn, figures hitting 4.7% and $6.4bn concerning telcos.

Local services rose 6.4% to $5.9bn and the financial sector soared 9.4%, on $5.6bn.

Retailers experienced a double-digit expansion to $5.1bn, with food and candy registering a similar improvement to nearly $5bn, and personal care rising to $4.4bn.

Restaurants' investment stayed flat on $4.3bn, while direct response and pharma suffered decreases, falling to $4.5bn and $3.2bn respectively.

Among the broader areas monitored by Kantar is branded entertainment, and it found an average hour of primetime material featured just over nine minutes of "in-show brand appearances."

Commercial messages comprised another 14 minutes 47 seconds, meaning 40% of a typical primetime hour took the form of marketing content.

Unscripted reality programming contained roughly 11 minutes of appearances an hour, falling to six minutes for scripted shows like sitcoms and dramas.

Culinary specialist Chef Revival, Viking appliances, Bud Light beer, Yamaha music equipment and auto marque Ford recorded the most appearances.

Data sourced from Kantar Media; additional content by Warc staff