Total advertising expenditures around the globe increased a mere 0.8% in 2011, led by television ads, finishing the year at $144 billion, according to new research from Kantar Media. Cable advertising grew at a faster clip than the general market, however.
"The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011," said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. "Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds."
Ad spending during the fourth quarter of 2011 actually dropped 1% versus the year ago period, the first quarterly decline since the end of 2009. Since reaching a post-recession peak in Q3 2010, advertising growth rates have slowed sequentially for five consecutive quarters.
In terms of segment, television continued to lead the ad market in the fourth quarter. Network TV expenditures jumped 7.7% year-over-year and were helped by strong pricing for American football, a baseball World Series that went the maximum seven games and the launch of The X Factor singing competition program.
The rate of cable growth eased during Q4, finishing at +2.4% as higher demand from restaurants and retailers was offset by reductions from consumer packaged goods. For the full year, network TV decreased by 2% while cable rose 7.7%.
Spanish language TV ad spending surged 19.1% in fourth quarter, paced by higher sell-out levels at over-the-air networks. For all of 2011, the segment increased 8.3%.
Syndication TV benefitted from higher spending by department stores and health and beauty brands, and saw expenditures soar 11% in Q4. Full year spending advanced by 15.4%
Spot TV expenditures fell 8.7% in the fourth quarter, but the more significant indicator was that November and December spending were each down, despite easy comparisons against diminished, post-election spending volume of a year ago. Full-year spot TV spending dropped by 4.5%.