Growth trends for display ads have been shrinking since late last year, and through September, the category was up only 7 percent, TNS Media Intelligence data shows. That's less than half of the 17.2 percent gain TNS recorded last year. As TNS points out, growth rates have shrunk for the past five straight quarters. The TNS numbers obviously don't tell the whole online ad spend story, since its data still excludes paid search.
TNS' release comes after the major ad companies came out with their latest forecasts, including Magna Global's Bob Coen, who downgraded his 2008 forecast for U.S. online ad spend to 8 percent growth (5 percent gains expected in '09); ZenithOptimedia (which cut its global online spending forecast to 21.2 percent this year) and GroupM (which projected 10 percent global gains for '08 and 5 percent in '09); ZenithOptimedia remains the most optimistic for global online ad growth, projecting a 21.2 percent rise for the world's web ad dollars this year and 18 percent the next.
-- What Olympics boost?: You didn't need the official word to tell you we were in a recession for the past year and so, the 1.7 percent drop in total ad spend isn't much of a shock either. But it does show how things have deteriorated and that even display looks healthy by comparison. Still, considering all the hype and hope surrounding how much the Summer Olympics was supposed to contribute$2 billion in total spending was the general consensusQ3 ad expenditures were off 2 percent versus last year. That said, the Olympics did save network TV from entering negative territory, as the category was up 3 percent. Looking ahead, Jon Swallen, SVP Research at TNS Media Intelligence, said in a statement that Q4 is showing signs of further "slackening" in the ad market.
-- Print's troubles: The Olympics may have masked TV's ad woes, but magazines and newspapers had no refuge from the downturn. While mags' ad dollars slipped 3.8 percent, newspapers plunged a staggering 10 percent during the Jan.-Sept. period. Release
By David Kaplan