TV, other media advertising slightly down for Q3

Michelle Clancy | 18-12-2013

Total advertising expenditures in the third quarter of 2013 declined 1.9% from a year ago and finished the period at $34 billion, according to data released by Kantar Media.

For the year-to-date period of January through September, total spending increased 0.7% to $102.5 billion.

"Comparisons against Q3 of 2012 are skewed by last year's record-breaking Summer Olympic and political campaign ad spending, which artificially boosted the market," said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. "Remove that incremental money from the year-ago base and spending in Q3 2013 was up 2.5 to 3%. This is more indicative of how the ad market is currently performing."

Without the benefit of an Olympics event, network TV expenditures in the third quarter fell 17.9% compared to a year ago. Spot TV dropped 15.0%, primarily due to the reduction in political category spending that occurs in odd-numbered years. Other television segments had healthy gains in Q3 though.

Spanish-language TV ad expenditures rose 9.9%, principally from more hours of soccer programming on Hispanic networks. Spending on cable TV networks was up 5.1% and continues to be lifted by a creeping expansion of ad time.

Spending among the ten largest advertisers for the first nine months of 2013 was $11.805 billion, a 6.4% increase compared to a year ago. Among the Top 100 marketers, a diversified group accounting for more than two-fifths of all measured ad expenditures, budgets rose 3.3%.

Procter & Gamble was the top-ranked advertiser in the January-September period, with measured expenditures of $2.391 billion, an increase of 15.6%. The spending hikes were broadly distributed across its brand portfolio.

AT&T was the second largest advertiser, Kantar said, lifting its year-to-date ad budgets by 21.5% to $1.398 billion. In addition to higher spending on wireless services, AT&T nearly doubled its marketing support for the U-Verse brand and this accounted for a majority of the overall increase. Rival Verizon Communications reduced its total expenditures by 15.4% to $865.4 million. The spending gap between the two telecom giants is now at its widest margin in a decade.

Pfizer posted the largest growth rate among the Top 10, with spending up 31.4% to $862.6 million. The company undertook expensive marketing launches for two new prescription medications while also boosting ad support for many existing Rx brands.

Two automakers are on the Top Ten list. General Motors had expenditures of $1.204 billion, up 3.7% versus a year ago. The company has recently been shifting budgets towards pickup truck models, most notably to promote redesigns of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Toyota spent $920.4 million in the nine-month period, a decrease of 1.0%. Marketing relaunches of the Toyota Avalon and Rav-4 models were accompanied by sizable budgets, but this was offset by reduced spending for several other top-selling Toyota models in advance of their own upcoming redesigns.

L'Oreal expenditures reached $1.158 million in the nine month period, up 10.9%. The marketer has now increased its year-over-year ad spending for fifteen consecutive quarters. Berkshire Hathaway entered the Top Ten rankings by spending $868 million, a 3.3% increase. The company also raised spending at its Geico insurance subsidiary to keep pace with competitors.