July 17, 2006
Internet, Spanish-Language Ad Sales Drive First Quarter

News from Nielsen on Monday indicated that, in the first quarter, the Internet had the largest gain in advertising revenue, jumping 46.4 percent over last year's Internet ads. In contrast, network television ad spending rose 11.1 percent, and cable television rose by only .2 percent, compared to last year. According to Jon Lafayette with Television Week, the best television performance was among Spanish-language televisions stations, which saw a 14.3 percent ad increase.

The overall increase in ad spending in the first quarter was a 5.6 percent increase in last year. A little over a month ago, I wrote about projections of ad sales for the year being down from original projections, with the year projected to see a 4.9 percent increase rather than the 5.4 percent originally projected, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The prediction is a 13 percent increase in Internet sales for the year.

At the time I wrote:

But wait...didn't all the major networks get together several months ago and tell us all that the 30-second spot is more alive than ever? Of course, we can't predict any immediate doom...However, this does weaken the stance that the 30-second spot cannot be toppled.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it...That's what the industry has said. But, maybe it's just a little bit more broke than anyone wants to admit. And there has to come that point where doing something about it becomes a necessity instead of innovative thinking. The increases in product placement, show sponsorships, and various other forms of deviation from the 30-second spot is already showing some alternate routes, even as networks claim the 30-second spot is gaining power instead of losing it.

With numbers coming in to confirm that ad increases are being driven both by Internet content and Spanish-language content, the imminent changes are on the horizon. Over the past year or two, the penetration of Spanish-language channels have quietly indicated big changes on the horizon. With the percentage of Spanish-speaking Americans continuously expanding, the market will have to continue to make appropriate shifts to acknowledge these markets. For now, that may include having the same advertisement available in both languages, but one would think that there are plenty of sophisticated alternatives in reaching these non-English speaking audiences still waiting to be capitalized on.