Study: Ad spending flat through Sept.

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The Nielsen Co. provided one of the more upbeat looks at the ad climate this year, saying that spending through the first nine months of 2008 was about flat thanks to increases for cable TV and the Beijing Olympics.

Many media categories — including spot TV, radio, magazines and newspapers — were flat at best compared with the first nine months of 2007. Several of the top ad categories — including auto and pharmaceutical — fell year-over-year. The top 10 ad categories, thanks to a boost in direct response, finished the first nine months of 2008 up 1%, Nielsen said.

Network TV through September was up a little less than 1%, but Nielsen said that was because of the Olympics, which improved NBC's coffers in the third quarter. Network advertising was down 6% for the first six months of the year.

Cable TV, on the other hand, was up 8% year-over-year, while syndication rose 2% and Hispanic cable TV was up 1%. However, Hispanic broadcast was down 2% and spot TV came in flat despite a record level of political spending.

The top 10 advertising categories pumped $30.7 billion into the marketplace during the first nine months of 2009, up 1% compared with 2007.

Meanwhile, a report from Barclays Capital forecast a bleak environment in 2009 and 2010. Analysts predict a 10% drop in ad spending next year, followed by a 1% increase in 2010. (partialdiff)
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