Kantar: U.S. Ad Revenues Flat for Q1


NEW YORK: Total advertising spending in the U.S. in the first quarter fell 0.1 percent from the year-ago period, at $30.1 billion, according to the latest figures from Kantar Media.

Cable expenditures were up by 5.2 percent, thanks to an increase in the volume of ad time and stronger demand from restaurants and auto manufacturers. Spanish-language TV spending was up 13.5 percent, marking its seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. However, this is lower than the 15-percent annual growth rate seen in 2012. The Spanish-language segment continues to be led by gains among national broadcast networks.

There was a 5.2-percent decline in network TV spending, primarily due to weaker prime-time ratings. The Q1 comparisons were also hurt by the fact that ad money for NCAA Final Four Games has been shifted to April. Overall, sports programming did produce ad revenue gains for the broadcast networks though.

Spot TV spending was down, by 2.4 percent. However, if you exclude cyclical political advertising, this area was essentially flat versus last year. Spending on syndication was down 1.1 percent.

“It has been a lackluster start for 2013, with flat year-over-year results due in part to strong 2012 growth caused by political and Olympic ad spending,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. “Data from the early second quarter are mixed, suggesting marketers are still being cautious and conservative with ad budgets. However, there are some bright spots, including healthy growth for Hispanic media and outdoor.”