That core increase was driven by auto spending, which was up almost 9% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Other high-growth categories in the quarter: department stores (+25.1%), supermarkets/grocery stores (+33.3%) and telecommunications (+13.4%).
The core growth was particularly impressive given that political advertising displaced much of the other advertising in the fourth quarter, says Matrix Solutions President D.J. Cavanaugh, noting that the total revenue was up 30%, but core was flat with most categories negative in the quarter.
Those percentages, from Matrix Solutions, are a marked improvement over the firm’s first-half figures and the 4.5% core growth is tied directly to continued strength of auto advertising. Matrix President D.J. Cavanaugh: “Obviously, political is driving this business right now — some might argue that it’s driving it crazy — but even when you take political out, 4.5% growth is pretty healthy, particularly in this economy. I think it bodes well for the business.”
Heavy political spending and the recovery of the auto market account for the growth in the six months ending June 30, according to actual sales data collected by Matrix Solutions. Auto was up 18.4% with dealer associations contributing a 24.3% gain. But many other categories sunk. Packaged goods and telecommunications were off 11.36% and 10.06%, respectively.