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H’wood studios lead upturn in ad spending

Movies account for $1.4 bil, up 5.6% from last year

NEW YORK — Led by big Hollywood spenders like AOL Time Warner and the Walt Disney Company, advertising spending rose by 2.8% for the first half of 2003, compared with the same period last year, according to a report released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The Mouse House emerged as the fourth top advertiser, after traditional heavyweights like Procter & Gamble and General Motors Corp. Disney spent $555 million in the January-May period on mass-marketing pics like “Finding Nemo” ($31 million), “Bringing Down the House” ($25 million) and “The Recruit” ($22 million). That figure is a 27% spike in Disney’s ad spending over the first half of 2002.

AOL Time Warner, parent company of Warner Brothers, was the third top advertiser, racking up a bill of $648.2 million, up 11.3% from a year ago.

Motion pictures as a whole accounted for $1.4 billion in ad spending, up 5.6% from last year.

Ad spending grew in six of the 11 reported media, with the biggst gains made by Hispanic TV advertising, up 19% from the first half of 2002. National magazines and local newspapers also increased, 13.7% and 9.9% respectively.

Television ad spending declined, however, with the exception of spot TV, which was up 4%. Syndicated, network and cable TV numbers were all down by around 4%, due in part to a weak scatter market.