NEW YORK: Procter & Gamble, Time Warner and News Corp were among the major marketers reining in their US advertising expenditure in the first quarter of this year, while total national ad revenues also fell by 14.2%, to $30.2 billion (€21.2bn; £18.4bn), during this period, TNS reports.

According to figures from the research firm, which is part of WPP Group, the decline in Q1 followed on from a slide of 9.2% in the last three months of 2008.

The top ten companies by adspend reduced their outlay by 5.7% on an annual basis at the start of this year, with the top 100 cutting back by 8.1%.

While P&G remained the biggest advertiser in America, its total media budget actually fell by 17.8% year-on-year, from $820m to $674m.

Television was one of the mediums that witnessed a decline in activity by the FMCG giant, which reduced the funds it diverted through the medium by 30% in the timeframe assessed by TNS.

Verizon posted a 3.1% upturn in spending to $577.1m, while AT&T registered a contraction of just 1.2%, to $459.4m.

General Motors' measured media spending also fell 19% to $424.2m, with News Corp down 15.7% to $341.2m, Walt Disney off by 9.9% to $303.7m, and Time Warner cutting back by 24.4%, to $263.4m.

By contrast, Johnson & Johnson increased its outlay by 28.9%, to $397.2m, with Sprint Nextel also boosting its budget by 30.3% to $317.7m, and General Electric by 4.1%, to $261.4m.

In terms of media, TV spending fell 9.7%, including a 27.5% drop off for spot television, a 4.2% slide in network spending, cable revenues shrinking by 2.7%, and national syndication remaining static.

Magazine ad sales also tumbled by 20.5%, with consumer titles posting the smallest annual depreciation, at 19.2%, while the business-to-business sector witnessed the most substantial downturn, at 25.5%.

National newspaper revenues also dipped by 28.5%, with local titles down 25.1%, while radio revenues saw negative growth of 26.2%, and outdoor was off by 14.6%.

Online display was one of the few mediums to see an upturn, with spending improving by 8.2%.

Category spending through the top ten sectors fell 13.6%, to $16.7bn, with automotive expenditure falling by 28.4%, from $3.2bn to $2.3bn.

Telecoms adspend, on the other hand, rose 3%, to $2.1bn, but financial services was down 18.1%, to $2.0bn.

Similarly, the "food and candy" segment cut back by 6.5%, to $1.5bn, with personal care products also down 5.5%, to $1.2bn, although restaurants posted a 2.5% uptick, to $1.4bn.

Nielsen has also estimated that spendin

Data sourced from TNS; additional content by WARC staff