There have been some signs of a thaw in the chill over display advertising the past few months, but two of the big spending trackers don’t quite agree on whether the freeze started to end in h109. The rosier view comes today from TNS Media Intelligence, which says that display grew 6.5 percent during the first six months of the year. That’s at odds with Nielsen’s view earlier this month, when it found display ads slipping 1 percent to $4.285 billion. There’s not too much disagreement on how bad the rest of the ad universe fared in ’09’s first half. TNS saw a total ad spend decline of 14.3 percent versus the same period a year ago, to $60.87 billion. Nielsen said ad expenditures over the past six months were down 15.4 percent from h108 — for a decline of over $10.3 billion to $56.9 billion.
While Nielsen’s appraisal of the display market is more dour than TNS’, the numbers did at least suggest that the category’s decline was being arrested at least. As for the reason TNS found for display’s sudden rise, the researcher pointed to the spending shift from traditional to online by consumer packaged goods marketers. That trend has been accelerating over the past year and is likely to continue, thanks to the promise of lower cost, better targeted spots. Secondly, display ads were propped up by greater spending by wireless telecom companies, who are promoting smartphones and related plans.