Ad spending up, but direct response down, in first three quarters of 2010: Kantar Media

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Advertising spending in the first nine months of 2010 grew 6.4% compared to the same period of 2009. However, DRTV ad spending dropped 6.2% year-over-year for the same period, according to data released by media measurement firm Kantar Media.

Nearly $94.1 billion was spent on advertising across print, online, TV and radio during the first three quarters of 2010, according to Kantar. Third-quarter ad spending was also up 8.7% - the largest quarterly gain since 2004 - in that category compared to the same period of 2009.

Yet direct response ad spending dropped 6.2% for the first three quarters of 2010 to $4.5 billion, according to Kantar. This data, which includes spending on short-form DRTV spots, but not long-form ads or direct mail, may reflect marketers moving their spending from direct response to other categories, and vice versa, said Jon Swallen, SVP of research at Kantar Media.

“[Direct response] tends to increase when the rest of the market is soft, but conversely it tends to decrease when the rest of the market is strong,” he said.

Direct response remained the seventh largest advertising category in terms of spending. Other categories saw double-digit increases, such as automotive, which was up 23.7% to $9.1 billion, and miscellaneous retail, which jumped 10.1% to $5.1 billion.

Across media, most categories saw growth. TV was up 10.5%, helped by a 27.8% jump in spot TV advertising. Radio was up 6.2% during the nine-month period, and outdoor ad spending increased by 7.3%. Newspaper ad spending dropped 2.9% during the first three quarters of 2010, according to Kantar.

The firm also found that large advertisers were the main source of spending in the first part of 2010, but smaller advertisers moved aggressively to boost their spending in later months of the year.

“This bodes well for the sustainability of the ad recovery,” said Swallen. “If there's broad representation, that's good for the industry — it's broader, it's more democratic now, and therefore more sustainable.”

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