NEW YORK: Advertising expenditure in the US is estimated to have fallen by around 5% in 2008, declining in consecutive quarters for the first time in seven years, according to preliminary forecasts from TNS Media Intelligence.

Based on provisional tracking figures, TNS estimates that last year's decline in adspend will be the biggest since the 9.8% drop recorded in 2001.

Marketing spend slipped by 2% year-on-year in Q3 2008, with fourth quarter revenues likely to fall by 4%, based on data from October and November.

TV ad revenues are expected to be flat over this period, but would probably have fallen in the "low single digits" in the absence of the Beijing Olympics and the US Presidential election.

Print adspend is also forecast to decline by around 10%, with the growth of online display slowing to 4%, compared with growth of 16% in 2007.

Opines Jon Swallen, the company's senior vice president of research: "The fourth quarter looks like it was probably weaker than the third quarter. Print was worse than broadcast, and even digital media further slowed down."

Online marketing spend is also set to post slowing expansion rates in every quarter of 2008, largely as a result of financial organizations slashing their budgets.

With sales plummeting across the US, auto manufacturers have also reduced their marketing spend for 14 consecutive quarters.

Data sourced from International Herald Tribune; additional content by WARC staff