Ad spending flat in Q1

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NEW YORK -- Ad spending was mostly tepid in the first quarter, with network and spot TV falling compared with last year's Olympics and both the newspaper and radio sectors also weak.

TNS Media Intelligence estimated Tuesday that first-quarter ad spending stood at $34.9 billion, mostly unchanged from the $35 million that was spent in first-quarter 2006, which included ad campaigns tied to the Winter Olympics.

Overall spending for TV remained the largest share of the market, though it dropped 3% to $15.6 billion in the first quarter compared with a year ago. Network TV was especially hard hit, dropping 7% to $6 billion, while spot TV fell 4% to $3.7 billion and national syndicated TV dropped 6% to $986.8 million. Only cable TV (up 6% to $3.8 billion) and Spanish-language TV (up 4% to $985 million) were up in the category.

Television's share of the ad market dropped from 46% to 45% year-over-year; newspapers dropped slightly, to 18% of the market, while radio remained mostly unchanged. The Internet rose from 7% of the market to 8%, while magazines rose from 18% to 19%. Spending on newspapers dropped 5% year-over-year and radio dropped 2%.

Leading the way again was Internet ad spending, which TNS estimated jumped 17% to $2.7 billion, ahead of radio at $2.3 billion.

TNS said the top 10 advertisers cut their combined spending 8% compared with last year, including top three Procter & Gamble Co. ($722.7 million, down 9%), AT&T Inc. ($512.2 million, down 20%) and General Motors Corp. ($480.9 million, down 31%).
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