NEW YORK: It's official. US advertising spend fell in the first six months of this year. Latest figures from Nielsen Monitor-Plus show a year-on-year adspend slippage of 0.5%.

The numbers are broadly in line with those released by rival TNS Media Intelligence earlier this month, reporting a 0.3% fall for the first half of 2007.

Nielsen says adspend was either down or flat across most major media, including network TV which declined 4%, local newspapers down by 8%, and spot radio which recorded a 2% slip. Spanish-language TV was flat, as was cable TV.

Online spend increased 23%, while advertising in national magazines, Sunday supplements and outdoor rose 5% or slightly higher.

Adspend among the top ten national advertisers fell 7%. General Motors slashed its budget by 28% to $954 million (€678m; £473m), while the world's biggest marketer, Procter & Gamble, trimmed its spend by 1%. Third-ranked AT&T was more heavy-handed and cut adspend by 13%.

Automotive, which is the biggest spending category, fell 10% to $5.8 billion, reflecting the general slump in US vehicle sales. The pharmaceuticals category, on the other hand, raised its spend by 7%.

Product placement also increased, with Nielsen measuring 17,000 more occurrences within the top ten TV programs in the first half of 2007, a rise of 19% on last year.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff