Total advertising expenditures in the first nine months of 2011 increased 1.5 percent from a year ago and finished the period at $104.7 billion, according to data released today by Kantar Media, the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing information. Spending growth slowed during the third quarter and was up 0.4 percent compared to last year.  In all media categories, Spanish-language advertising increased substantially. 

"The cautious optimism for the advertising market at the beginning of 2011 has been replaced by the statistical evidence of progressively slowing growth rates," said Jon Swallen, SVP Research at Kantar Media North America. "From +4.1 percent in the first quarter, to +2.8 percent in the second quarter and now a barely palpable +0.4 percent for the July to September period. During Q3, an expanding number of the largest marketers became even more conservative with their ad budgets and these reductions have neutralized the healthy spending growth occurring among mid-sized advertisers."

Measured Ad Spending By Media

Most forms of television had spending gains in the third quarter. Expenditures on cable networks increased 6.5 percent during Q3 as higher demand from Direct Response advertisers was offset by curtailed spending from auto manufacturers and restaurants. January-September outlays on cable TV rose 9.9 percent.

Network TV registered its first quarterly gain of the year as Q3 expenditures inched ahead 0.2 percent on higher budgets from movie studios and consumer package goods marketers. Year-to-date expenditures were down 5.7 percent, primarily from the loss of marquee college football and basketball programming that moved to cable networks in the first quarter of 2011.

Ad spending in Spanish Language Television soared 18.0 percent during Q3 and Syndication TV was up 14.8 percent in the period. The only TV segment to lose ground was Spot TV, where expenditures sank 5.7 percent during July-September and were down 2.7 percent for the nine months. As expected, the 2011 Spot TV trend line is progressively lagging in comparison to last year's bonanza that was fueled by political advertising money.

Within the Internet sector, display advertising expenditures jumped 15.8 percent during July-September and the gains were broadly distributed across top spending categories. However, measured investments in paid search declined 14.4 percent in Q3 on continuing reductions from insurance companies, legal services and medical care providers. For the first nine months of 2011, display spending increased 10.1 percent while paid search fell 2.1 percent.

After six months of modest growth, Consumer Magazine ad expenditures reversed course in Q3 and dropped 1.4 percent. Stable demand from the personal care, apparel, prescription drug and direct response categories was more than offset by steep reductions from food companies and auto manufacturers. Year-to-date spending for the medium has grown 2.2 percent.  Hispanic magazine advertising experienced  year on year growth rates of 24% in the Jan-Sept period and of 20% in the July-Sept period.

Outdoor spending slowed during the third quarter but still registered gains of 3.2 percent for July-September and 8.6 percent for the nine months. Local service businesses, restaurants and education institutes continued to direct more money into the medium.

The pace of spending in Radio media remained soft but steady. Local Radio expenditures were up 2.0 percent in Q3 and have risen 2.2 percent year-to-date. National Spot Radio fell 2.3 percent in July-September and was off 1.9 percent for the first nine months of the year.

Local Newspapers, despite robust budgets from local auto dealers and an uptick in financial advertising, posted a 4.4 percent spending decline in Q3 and were down 3.9 percent year-to-date. Advertising in  Spanish – language newspapers declined 1,1% during the first nine months of 2011 and increased 2.9% during the third quarter (July-Sept).

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