Wireless Phone Advertisers Spent $4 Billion on Ads in ’07

May 28, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Out-of-Home | Radio | Telecom | Television

Advertisers in the Wireless Telephone Services category spent nearly $4.1 billion in 2007 – an increase of $431 million (12%) over 2006, according to a Nielsen Monitor-Plus and Nielsen Mobile analysis of advertising for wireless/mobile phones and multi-function phones.

Overall, ad spending by companies within the Wireless Telephone Services category grew 67% in the past five years, from $2.45 billion in 2003, Nielsen said.

2007 wireless telephone services ad spend figures, by medium:

nielsen-wireless-telephone-services-ad-spend-by-medium-2007.jpg

  • More than one-third of the total ad spend in 2007 went to network television ($1.4 billion, 35.53%), followed by cable television ($814.6 million, 20%) and spot television ($627.5 million, 15%).
  • Internet advertising received 7.2% of ad spend, or 295.4 million, in 2007.
  • Network television, which grew by $334 million (30%) over 2006, showed the largest dollar increase in 2007.

Below, additional findings from Nielsen.

Wireless Carriers

Spending by the top 5 wireless carrier advertisers totaled $3.89 billion in 2007 – a 16% increase from 2006:

nielsen-wireless-telephone-carrier-advertisers-2007.jpg

  • Verizon Communications, last year’s largest advertiser, spent $1.2 billion on advertising in 2007 – a 13% increase over 2006.
  • Alltel, which introduced spending for its text messaging services in 2007, showed the larges percentage increase from 2006 to 2007 (+62%, +$75.6 million):
  • That new area of advertising accounted for $13 million of Alltel’s $75.6 million ad spend increase last year.
  • In addition, the company doubled its spending for its wireless telephone services–from $47.7 million in 2006 to $95.6 million in 2007.
  • Carriers spent more to advertise data services than traditional voice services in 2007:
    • Advertising promoting data services accounted for 25% ($959 million) of advertising spending by wireless carriers in 2007.
    • Carriers spent approximately 19% ($734 million) to advertise their voice services.

Wireless Device Manufacturers

Ad spending by the top 3 wireless device manufacturers totaled $72.9 million in 2007:

nielsen-wireless-telephone-device-advertisers-2007.jpg

  • While Samsung and Motorola, the top two advertisers among device manufacturers, curtailed their ad spending in 2007 (-46% and -1%, respectively), LG bucked the trend (up 39%) with its introduction of the Chocolate.
  • Advertising for the launch of the Chocolate integrated music player phone accounted for $9.5 million of the company’s $17.3 million ad spend.
  • Notably, Apple Inc., which introduced its iPhone with ads during the Academy Awards in February 2007 (five months prior to the launch of the product), spent more than $91 million on advertising for the iPhone last year.
  • Apple’s huge iPhone campaign helped to propel the company into sixth place among the biggest ad spenders of 2007.

Multi-Function Telephone Services Advertising

The wireless telephone industry is rapidly changing–due, in great part, to the growth of multi-function telephones, which give users access to text messaging, the internet, and other supplementary services.

  • Ad spending for multi-function phones has grown steadily in recent years. In 2007, multi-function phone advertisers spent $300 million – a 1117% increase over 2001, when advertisers in that category spent just $24.6 million.
  • In sharp contrast, ad spending for mobile phones (with voice service only) has decreased during the same time frame – from $63.1 million in 2001 to $4.7 million in 2007.
  • Within the multi-function telephone category, Blackberry Mobile Telephones boosted ad spending to $29.8 million in 2007 – a 250% increase from the $8.6 million Blackberry spent on advertising in 2006.
  • SK Group also increased spending on ads for its Helio Mobile Telephone in 2007 and introduced advertising for its Helio Ocean Mobile Telephone. Spending for both products totaled $28.7 million in 2007 – a 63% increase over its total 2006 budget.

Product Placement: Network Television

The top 10 broadcast television programs for 2007 that featured product placements for the wireless telephone industry accounted for 1,068 occurrences:

  • “American Idol” (FOX) was the number one program, with 445 placements.
  • “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC) was second with 127 placements, followed by “On the Lot” (FOX) with 114 occurrences.
  • The remainder of the top 10 broadcast programs had fewer than 75 placements each.
  • AT&T Wireless Text Messaging, primarily due to its association with American Idol (viewers can text their votes for their favorite contestants), was the top brand with 403 occurrences.
  • Motorola Mobile Telephones (267 occurrences) and Cingular Wireless Text Messaging (165 occurrences) rounded out the top three brands on broadcast television.

Although AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless are now part of the same company, during the 2007 season of American Idol the two were in the transition phase of branding. For this reason, product placements for each brand were tracked separately in 2007.

Product Placement: Cable Television

For the five cable networks monitored (A&E, Bravo, HGTV, MTV, and TLC), “The Real World” (MTV) had the most wireless telephone placements, with 104 brand occurrences in 2007, followed by “Dog the Bounty Hunter” (A&E) with 83 occurrences, and “Real World Road Rules Challenge” (MTV) with 78 occurrences. Six of the top 10 programs aired on MTV.

The top 10 wireless telephone brands had a total of 864 placements on cable television in 2007. Motorola Mobile Telephones led the way with 171 occurrences, followed by Verizon Wireless Telephone Services (127), and Blackberry Multi-Function Telephone (106).

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