NEW YORK: Advertising expenditure levels fell by 15.4% year-on-year, to $56.9 billion (€39.9bn; £35.2bn), in the US in the first half of 2009, new figures released by The Nielsen Company show.

According to the research firm, cable TV was the only major medium to record an uptick in revenues in the period from January to June, up 1.5% on an annual basis, despite posting a decline of 2.7% in the first quarter.

By contrast, online adspend, not including search, fell by 1%, while network TV was down by 7.0%, network radio by 9.0%, and spot radio by 9.1%.

Syndicated TV was off by an even more substantial 11.6%, local newspapers by 13.2%, outdoor by 14.9%, national magazines by 21.2%, and national newspapers by 22.8%.

In terms of spot TV, the Top 100 designated market areas registered a slide of 17.4%, with the next 100 biggest such regions down by 32.1%.
By sector, the automotive category reduced its adspend by 31.4%, to $3.7bn, with auto dealerships cutting back by 26.2%, to $1.7bn.

Expenditure by pharmaceutical firms contracted 11.3%, to $2.1bn, while furniture retailers paired back their budgets by 3.6%, to $774 million.

The quick service restaurant category, by contrast, increased its spending by 5.1%, with McDonald's, Domino's and Papa John's all diverting more funds to this area.

Multi-function mobile phones, such as Apple'siPhone and T-Mobile'sSidekick, also enjoyed a 104% rise in marketing support.

Cable TV services were up 62.3% on this measure, to nearly $500m, with websites up by 47.4%, and tax services and computer software by more than 40%.

Annie Touliatos, vp for Nielsen's advertising information services, argued that "we're not just seeing a rise in spending for recession-friendly products like fast food restaurants."

"We're seeing a lot more promotion of technological innovations like smartphones, computer software, and consumer-driven web sites."

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff