Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Non-Digital Ad Sales Are a Non-Growth Business

sad don draperIf you are in the business of selling old-timey ads — that is, ads you’re not going to see on this screen or any other part of the Web — then the first three months of this year were kind of rough.

So says Kantar Media, which notes that U.S. ad spending was down 0.1 percent in Q1. Jon Swallen, Kantar’s top researcher, describes those numbers as “lackluster,” though if you were selling a certain kind of ad product, the start of the year wasn’t terrible.

Cable TV ads were up more than five percent, for instance. And Spanish-language TV is booming, and those ads were up 13.5 percent.

From the not-so-great part of the ledger: Broadcast TV ads were down more than five percent. Newspapers, of course, kept slipping, and their ads were down four percent.

Okay, so, what about Google, Facebook, AOL and everyone else in Webland? They’re still up a lot, right?

Probably! Kantar doesn’t have anything to say about digital ad sales, but says it will soon, after it reworks the way it tracks display-ad spending.

This is probably a good idea. The last time we looked at Kantar’s digital ad tracking, we found some … surprising data.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik