Some media stocks dropped earlier this week partly on fears that sales of auto ads could plunge even more with the Obama administration's rescue plan for the automobile industry. But a Nielsen report this morning shows that online media companies have less to fear: Even as auto companies slashed their overall ad budgets in the second half of 2008, their online spending dipped only 0.5 percent (By comparison, print spending dropped 40 percent).
So far this year, Nielsen says that auto-ad spending online is "once again gaining momentum and is forecast to be on par with Q107, while still slightly below Q108." Nielsen says that the online category's relative strength shows "how the automotive industry reacted to the crisis, highlighting channels that are the most vital to intercepting new-vehicle prospects." By next year, Nielsen expects the Internet to be the second-largest advertising category for car makers, after TV.
By Joseph Tartakoff