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Q1 ad spend in the US up by a lack lustre 1.5 per cent

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NEW YORK: Advertising spends in the US rose by a meagre 1.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year, says Nielsen Media Research. The report says that ad spend declined in the case of network TV, cable TV, syndicated TV and national newspapers each falling about 5 per cent, compared to the corresponding figures for the same period last year. The report adds that TV gained from the Iraqi conflict.

The report states that local newspapers grew by 9 per cent; national magazines in the US grew by 14 per cent and Hispanic TV grew by a whopping 15 per cent.

Nielsen Monitor Plus report states that advertising spending increased in six of the ten reported media, with growth rates ranging from under 1 per cent to over 15 per cent.

Nielsen Monitor-Plus MD Jeff King was quoted as saying that 2003 is disadvantaged because the Iraqi war resulted in some preemption of regularly scheduled shows and possibly contributed to a slowing of the overall advertising growth rate.

The report also mentions that GM dropped 24 per cent of its budget for Q1; Ford picked up its pace and increased its ad spend by 55 per cent for their Escape, Expedition, Explorer, and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. The most significant growth was seen in the automotive category which collectively spent more than $2 billion.

Other major contributors included Sony (up by 47 per cent) and Walt Disney (up by 24 per cent). The report says that Sony and Disney's growth was largely due to increased spending on motion pictures. Sony's 2003 movies include Tears of the Sun ($22 million in advertising spending), National Security($17 million), Darkness Falls ($18 million), and Adaptation ($9 million), while Disney's increase is largely due to spending on Recruit ($23 million), Shanghai Knights ($21 million), Chicago ($19 million), and Gangs of New York ($11 million).

The report adds that spending by the top 10 categories, which were also the largest categories last year, was $5 billion dollars for the first three months of 2003 (up 5 per cent).

Brand advertising slightly decreased. Also notable from the category perspective was last year's high-flyer, pharmaceuticals, which increased only two percent.

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