Study: Overall Ad Spend Up, Especially Online

U.S. ad spending for the first half of 2004 rose 9.1 percent over the same period last year, according to data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR (TNS MI/CMR), with the Internet claiming the biggest gains among all media measured.

Online advertising achieved a growth rate of 25.9 percent as compared to the first half of 2003, reaching $3.6 billion. It was far and away the strongest growth category, although double-digit increases were also reported in cable TV (18.2 percent), syndication TV (17.5 percent), national newspapers (10.8 percent) and local magazines (10.2 percent). The total U.S. ad spend for the six-month period was estimated at $67.6 billion.

Figures are based on the TNS MI/CMR Stradegy2 multimedia ad expenditure database across all TNS MI/CMR measured media. The firm collects spending and occurrence data on approximately two million brands in 20 media.

One big reason for the leap may be the glut of political ads, which the company said accounted for $398 million in spending between January and June 2004. By year’s end, the firm expects that number to grow to $1.5 billion.

“Political messages are pouring dollars into the market. To date, we’ve captured more than 482,000 political and issue advocacy TV advertisements,” said TNS MI/CMR President and CEO Steven Fredericks. On top of the record spending by both Bush and Kerry, at least 20 interest groups ran TV ads supporting one or the other candidate.

Fredericks said the total U.S. ad spend for 2004 should beat 2003’s numbers by as much as 10 percent, owing to the Olympics and the Presidential election.

If the forecast proves accurate, it will be the second year of significant gains for online advertising. In March, TNS MI/CMR found Internet ad spending in 2003 was up 6.1 percent over 2002.

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