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IN CASE YOU HADN’T HEARD: Publishers Information Bureau on Tuesday confirmed what everyone already knows: advertising revenue continues to slide. Total ad revenue for the first nine months of 2008 was $18.4 billion, down five percent from the same period a year ago. The drop was even steeper in the third quarter, when ad revenue fell 8.8 percent to about $6 billion. As expected, automotive advertising was down dramatically — 19.9 percent for the nine months and 23.9 percent for the quarter. Other categories that saw sharp declines during the quarter included food and food products, which were down 18.4 percent, and drugs and remedies, which fell 16.6 percent.
Elsewhere for the quarter, retail dropped 6.8 percent; toiletries and cosmetics were down 0.5 percent; apparel and accessories fell 7 percent; media and advertising dropped 4.1 percent; direct response companies decreased 7.8 percent; financial, insurance and real estate was down 1.6 percent; home furnishings and supplies slipped 8.4 percent and technology slid 2.2 percent.
And while the outlook for holiday is one of the bleakest in years, retail was one of the few bright spots in the first nine months, with ad revenue up 4.5 percent. Public transportation, hotel and resorts also rose, by 3.1 percent; food and food products increased 3.4 percent, and financial, insurance and real estate rose 0.6 percent. And clearly all of that increase came before the Wall Street meltdown. — Amy Wicks