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US ad revenues for Q1 seem flat

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MUMBAI: Total advertising spending in the US in the first quarter fell 0.1 per cent from the year-ago period, at $30.1 billion, according to the latest figures from Kantar Media.

Cable expenditures were up by 5.2 per cent, 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 per cent, marking its seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. However, this is lower than the 15 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent. However, if you exclude cyclical political advertising, this area was essentially flat versus last year. Spending on syndication was down 1.1 per cent.

"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 Kantar Media North America chief research officer Jon Swallen. "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."

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