Nielsen Monitor-Plus released first-quarter 2008 advertising numbers which should surprise no one. Like TNS a week ago, Nielsen says the advertising market was essentially flat in Q1. Network TV lost 3.4%, while cable TV gained 12.9%, indicating that the movement of dollars from broadcast to cable accelerated during the writers strike. National newspapers dropped 6.2% in the quarter. Online advertising gained 14% over Q1 2007.
Last week TNS estimated online advertising had grown 8.5% in the quarter, but that number doesn’t count search advertising, which Nielsen includes.
What about online ad networks, which are supposed to be surging and cutting into the share of portals and other big publishers? Hard to say. Pubmatic says ad network rates were flat in May after taking a sharp dive in April. The firm, which manages ad network relationships for publishers, started releasing research on ad network ad rates three months ago. Last month the company said CPMs at the 3,500 publishers it tracks were down 23% from March to April. In May, PubMatic says, average rates actually dropped a penny, and now at a $0.37 CPM.
But rates are only one data point, and unless we have a better sense of overall spending, we can’t draw much from that. CPMS could be dropping because advertisers are less interested in ad networks — or they could be dropping because there’s a ton of new inventory coming online. It’s also subject to debate: a competing firm, Rubicon Project, said ad rates on being paid by the top ad networks rose 20% during April and May.
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