Latest Advertising Spending Estimates Underscore Softness in TV

The latest numbers on advertising expenditures underscore the trend of softness in TV growth this year, according to ad tracking firm Kantar Media.

Spanish-language TV was the big driver of modest TV advertising growth during the third quarter, according to the latest Kantar report. Spanish-lingo TV registered a 23.7% gain in spot TV advertising, thanks in large part to the World Cup soccer tournament. Cable networks saw a 7.9% gain in the third quarter, compared to just 0.2% for national network buys, even as the spending on the midterm elections heated up in key battleground states.

For the first nine months of the year, overall TV spending was up 7.1% compared to the comparable period in 2013. That’s better than the magazine (-4.3%), newspaper (-9.2%) and radio (-3.8%) advertising categories, which were down year-over-year, and a slightly bigger gain than Internet advertising (5.7%) during the frame.

But the disproportionate gains for Spanish-lingo TV (28.1%) during the nine-month period raise questions about growth potential for the rest of the TV market. Cable TV grew 7.9% during the January to September frame, while broadcast networks eked out a 3.0% gain, according to Kantar.

Overall spending by the top 10 advertisers was $11.5 billion from January to September, down 1.7% from the comparable period in 2013. Packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble claimed the top spot among advertisers overall with $2 billion during the frame, which still marked a 16.1% year-over-year drop and the company’s third consecutive quarter of declining advertising expenditures across all media. AT&T, another blue-chip advertiser, saw spending decline 11.3% for the frame.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is the biggest gainer overall, growing 19.5% to $1.03 billion. General Motors registered a 4.5% uptick to $1.3 billion.

Kantar execs noted a clear trend of smaller advertisers helping to fill the gap in spending during the third quarter.

“After a relatively robust first half when spend grew by 3.1%,the pace of ad spending slowed during Q3 and a principal cause was Top 100 marketers becoming more restrained with their budgets,” said Jon Swallen, Kantar Media North America’s chief research officer. “In contrast, mid-sized advertisers, who are the core of the ad market, continued to supply foundational support and grew their total spending by 6%-7% during the quarter.”

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