The good news is that advertising spending increased for the sixth time in the last six quarters.
The bad news is that a study by Kantar Media reports it only grew by 2.8%, the smallest quarterly increase over the past year and a half.
Outdoor advertising jumped 11.8% while Internet media saw a 10.4% jump and magazine spending went up 2.9%.
Newspapers and free-standing inserts dropped 0.2% and 5.9%, respectively.
The question is whether the slowdown is a temporary issue or one that indicates another troubling downturn for the media industry.
Peter Kafka has mixed feelings:
Some sales guys I’ve talked with are still shrugging off the decline as the result of more difficult comps: It was a lot easier to post big year-over-year increases when the preceding year was the apocalypse.
And again, if you’re in digital ad sales and you don’t work for Yahoo or AOL, you’re probably not seeing any sign of a slowdown at all.
The New York Times quotes Jon Swallen, Kantar’s senior vice president, who says spending from the 100 biggest advertisers “stalled” but that “a majority of media types actually improved their performance.”
The industry it seems is smartly adopting a wait-and-see attitude. If the economy tanks, ad spending will follow. If it recovers, however, the media industry should see a seventh-straight quarter of growth.
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