Ad Spend Up 12.5% in First Quarter

Ad spending surges in Asia and Latin America helped fuel a 12.5 percent worldwide rebound in the first quarter vs. the first three months of 2009, according to Nielsen's latest Global AdView Pulse report.

Global ad spending at rate-card values rose to $110 billion in Q1 compared to the same stretch in '09 — and all regions surveyed registered encouraging performances, Nielsen said.

Some key findings:

• Latin America was the biggest gainer, with a 48 percent Q1 increase year over year.
• India rose 34 percent.
• Hong Kong was up 24 percent.
• China improved 18 percent.
• Asia Pacific overall gained 13 percent, though Japan was flat.
• Europe rose 7 percent, with France's 11 percent gain leading the way.
• North America gained 9 percent overall. In the U.S., the world's largest ad market, spending was up 4 percent. (That last figure jibes with numbers from Kantar Media, which pegged the domestic Q1 increase at 5 percent.)

Michele Strazzera, Nielsen Global AdView's deputy managing director, said the numbers indicate that after 18 tough months the industry has likely "turned the corner." Even so, she injected some caution into the equation, noting that the gains came off an exceptionally weak base and still lag pre-recession levels.

As expected, the Winter Olympics and run-up to the World Cup (host country South Africa rose 18 percent) helped drive the positive numbers worldwide.
Globally, television attracted the largest share of advertising, up 16 percent in Q1 compared to the previous year, per Nielsen.

Radio and newspaper ad spending — hammered at the recession's height — rebounded with 10 and 9 percent worldwide growth respectively.
Meanwhile, magazine advertising remained flat on a global basis, but declined 7 percent in North America, continuing an alarming trend for that category.

The Internet continued its positive trajectory, closing Q1 with a 12 percent ad spend increase vs. the same quarter in '09.

Among client types:
• Ad spending among fast-moving consumer-goods firms rose 23 percent in Q1. (Cosmetics led the way with a 27 percent boost.)
• Automotive clients spent 19 percent more.
• Financial services and durables climbed 17 and 16 percent respectively.

Source: David Gianatasio, Adweek