December 13, 2006
Ad Sale Increases Continue to be Strongest For Spanish-Language Programming, Web-Based Ads

No surprise that the continued growth in ad spending is led by continued dramatic gains in Internet revenue, as well as Spanish-language programming.

The latest figures released by Nielsen for the first three quarters of the year now list a 49.2 percent increase for now from a year ago, while Spanish-language ads are up 16.6 percent from a year ago. this is compared with a rise of 4.1 percent in ad spending for network television, while spot TV in smaller markets grew only 0.6 percent, compared to an increase of 7.4 percent in ads for the Top 100 American television markets.

The first three quarters of 2006 as a whole are up 5.1 percent.

The performance continues a trend I first wrote about back in June, when TNS Media Intelligence reported that its orginal projections for ad sales had been downgraded from 5.4 percent for the year to 4.9 percent. If the first three quarters of overall sales is at a 5.1 percent growth rate for now, it looks like the reality is somewhere in between, but there is still a quarter to go in 2006.

However, the predictions for Internet-based ad sales was upgraded to 13 percent, and growth in that sector in particular has far exceeded expectations, especially with the degree of ad-supported cross-platform content going to the Web in quick succession.

The first quarter's numbers were released in July, when I wrote I wrote:

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.

At the time, the numbers had increased 46.4 percent over the first quarter of 2005 for Internet ads and 14.3 percent over 2005 for Spanish-language ads.

And the trend continued into September, when TNS released numbers for the first half of the year. While the overall ad growth had slowed to 2.9 percent, Spanish-language ads jumped 20.5 percent, while Internet ads jmped 18.9 percent.

At the time, I wrote, "While network television advertising's revenue is much greater, at $12.3 billion, the growth rate has remained flat, and TNS said that, excluding the month that the Olympics were broadcast, the ad growth for 2006 for network TV would only be 1.2 percent."

The short story--Spanish-language audiences are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, and the strong drive for content moving to the Web is going to drive a lot more advertising dollars in that direction as well.