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U.S. ad spend rises 5.7% in first half

TV is a key driver with spot ads up 25.1%

NEW YORK -- Despite continued concerns about the U.S. economy, advertising spending, driven by strength in the TV market, continues to exceed year-ago levels.

U.S. advertising spending rose 5.7% in the first half of 2010 to $63.6 billion, according to latest data from research firm Kantar Media.

Ad expenditures in the second quarter rose 5.4% compared with the year-ago period.

"The rally in ad spending that has emerged from last year's collapse continued at a steady pace through the second quarter, even as softening economic data on retail sales, spending and employment began to raise concerns about the outlook for consumer activity," said Jon Swallen, senior vp, research at Kantar Media. "Early figures from the third quarter indicate the advertising expansion is still maintaining its momentum and that is an encouraging sign for the industry."

TV has led the way, gaining 10% in the first six months of the year. Spot TV spending jumped 25.1% in the first half thanks to what Kantar called "robust demand" from auto and retail marketers and a cyclical gain in political ads. Spanish-language TV ad spend rose 14.6% driven by the soccer World Cup this summer. Cable TV was up 8.8% at the mid-year mark, while network TV was up 7.2%.

Internet display ad spending rose 5.3% in the first half of 2010.

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble retained its position as the largest advertiser by boosting its first-half ad spending by 31% to $1.5 billion as it supported" nearly all of its largest brands," Kantar said.

Media giant News Corp. ranked as the sixth-largest marketer at the mid-year mark with a 6% spending increase, and Time Warner ranked eighth with a slight 1.5% decline in spending.

In another finding, Kantar said that during the second quarter an average hour of prime time network TV contained nine minutes and 31 seconds of in-show brand appearances and 14:19 of commercials. The combined total of 23:50 of marketing content represents 40% of a prime-time hour.