NEW YORK: Total measured advertising expenditures during the first half of 2008 slid by 1.6% year-on-year, reveals the latest data from TNS Media Intelligence. While further ill omens hover over the shape of things to come – if the haruspices have interpreted the entrails correctly.

An analysis of the numbers shows that Q2 adspending was down 3.7% versus the same period last year, the largest quarterly decline since 2001

Says TNS's bearer of bad tidings, svp/research Jon Swallen: "Advertising expenditures started to contract in March, well before the September turbulence on Wall Street renewed concerns about the health of the economy and possible collateral damage to the ad market."

But there is a glimmer of hope: "Second-half results, particularly for television, will be bolstered by the Beijing Olympics and US elections."

The sparse sources of good news were national syndicated TV, which increased 10.2%;  the internet (+8%); Sunday magazines (+4.8%); cable TV (+3.1%); and outdoor advertising (+1.8%).

Every other medium recorded a fall in expenditure.

Among H1's more bullish marketers were General Motors, whose spend increased by 12.9%to $1.03 billion (€702.83m; £556.7m) and NewsCorp which upped spend by 10.9% to $728 million.  Northbound dollars also flowed from Verizon (plus 7.6% to $1.1bn) and PepsiCo, up 5% to $586 million.

The bears included AT&T, down 15.6% $940m; Johnson & Johnson, minus 11.8% to $690m; Time Warner, down 9.2% to $717m; Walt Disney, less 8.8% to $601m; and (most significantly?) Procter & Gamble, down 7.9% to $1.49bn. 

  • 'Robust' Online Holds the Spending Line
    While Sir Martin Sorrell sniffs the "smell of fear" in the badlands of Madison Avenue, digital marketing remains poised for growth, reports eMarketer.

    It predicts that US advertisers will spend some $25bn online in 2008, a year-on-year growth rate of 17.4%. But in 2009, growth will ease slightly back, nevertheless increasing by an impressive 14.5% to an annual total of $28.5bn.

    By 2011, a convalescent economy will trigger a boom in online video advertising, spurring growth by over 20% to around $40bn, the highest percentage increase since 2007.

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