A new forecast from Kantar Media has caused heart beats to accelerate in the ad industry: It found that total advertising expenditures in the first six months of 2011 increased 3.2% from a year ago, finishing the period at $71.5 billion. Spending growth eased slightly during the second quarter, up only 2.8% compared to last year.
Digital ad spending, however, appears to be steady - as are related formats such as television, which increasingly is intersecting with online advertising. Internet media accounted for more than one-half of the dollar gain in total ad expenditures during the first six months of the year, Kantar said. Display spending jumped 12.9% and search investments rose 8.6% as each benefited from a surge of money from the travel, local service and insurance categories.
Outdoor (+11.8% ) was fueled by local service businesses, banks and TV media outlets. Indeed, writes PaidContent.org, online is making the wider ad industry performance look healthier than it is.
Within the television sector, spending on cable networks increased 11.8% during the first half of the year while network TV spending fell 7.6%. Syndication TV expenditures rose 18.5%. Radio media remained soft throughout the first six months of 2011, by contrast and newspaper media continued to lag the overall market.
Other industry prognostications also suggest more traditional ad vehicles will be trimmed, if they haven’t already. These include forecasts from Barclays Capital, Citigroup, WPP's GroupM unit and Publicis's ZenithOptimedia.
Still, eventually digital technologies will feel the impact from the larger economic slowdown, the industry has concluded. "I don't think the bottom will drop out, but I want to be ready," said Tom Bernardin, chief executive of Leo Burnett, a Chicago ad firm owned by Publicis told the Wall Street Journal.