Internet among big gainers in ad spend

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U.S. advertising spending rose 4.1% in 2006 to $149.6 billion, with 2007 gains still expected to hit only 2.6%, according to data released Tuesday by research firm TNS Media Intelligence.

During the fourth quarter, ad expenditures increased 4.2% compared with a year ago.

"Total advertising expenditures continue to expand slowly," TNS president and CEO Steven Fredericks said. "Excluding the cyclical contributions from special events such as political elections and the Olympics, core growth is tracking in the range of 3%."

Internet display advertising continued to go gangbusters in 2006, registering a 17.3% increase to $9.8 billion.

Spot TV spending, driven by record levels of political advertising, ended '06 up 10.4% at $17.2 billion. In the fourth quarter, which contained the last five weeks before Election Day, spot TV spending jumped 20.7%, TNS found. Other parts of the TV ad market were "muted by a second-half slowdown," the firm said. Network TV ad spending edged up only 2.5% to $22.9 billion, while cable ads rose 3.4% to $16.6 billion.

Spanish-language media continued to see gains in '06, with TV ad spending in the space finishing the year up 13.9%, magazines gaining 9.7% and newspapers up 8.5%.

Telecom spending overtook autos in terms of biggest ad categories.

Procter & Gamble remained the largest advertiser, spending $3.3 billion, up 3.3%. Time Warner Inc. cut its ad spending by 12% to drop from the No. 3 to No. 5 at $1.8 billion. The Walt Disney Co. (up 0.9%) and News Corp. (down 2.4%) also made the top 10.
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