Rx ad spend down 7.8% for first half of 2009, says TNS

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US advertising spend for prescription drugs declined 7.8% to $2.3 billion for the first six months of 2009 over the same period in 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence data.

Spending on TV ads by pharmas was down 6% to $1.5 billion for the period, while magazine ad spend dropped 20% to $610 million and newspaper ad spend plunged 33% to $49 million.

On the other hand, formerly moribund Internet ad spend soared 205% to $119 million for the pharma sector, while radio ad spend rose 83% to $17 million.

Spending on non-prescription remedies declined 5.7% to $1.8 billion, said TNS.

Across all sectors, US ad spend declined 14.3% for the first half of 2009 versus the first half of 2008, to $60.87 billion, and spending for the second quarter alone was off 13.9% over the previous year's, making it the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.

“The rate of decline in ad spending was level throughout the second quarter,” said Jon Swallen, SVP Research at TNS Media Intelligence. “While it's tempting to interpret this as a positive indicator that things aren't getting worse, the fact remains that the market has been steadily tracking at around 14% declines for several consecutive months and this represents billions of lost revenue. Early data from the third quarter hint at possible improvements for some media due to easy comparisons against distressed levels of year ago expenditures.”

Johnson & Johnson, the only pharmaceutical manufacturer among the top 10 advertisers, actually upped spending 18% to $683 million in the first half, though most of that went towards advertising the company's strong portfolio of consumer packaged goods brands.


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