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Ad Spending Rises 3.5% in Second Quarter, With a Little Help

Increase Attributed Partly to Last Year's Shifting Budgets

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After holding ad spending flat in the first quarter, marketers increased their spending in U.S. measured media in the second quarter by 3.5% from the quarter a year earlier, according to data released today by Kantar Media. Their spending totaled $35.8 billion, Kantar Media said.

"Ad spend has now increased for six consecutive quarters and in reaching 3.5 percent growth for Q2, had its best performance in a non-Olympic period since the end of 2010," said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, in a statement.

Total spending for the first six months of the year grew 2.0% to $68.9 billion, Kantar Media said.

The second-quarter gain, however, was buoyed by two unusual phenomena. Last year's ad spending was deflated as major advertisers conserved their second-quarter budgets ahead of the Summer Olympics, Mr. Swallen said. More NBA playoff games in the quarter this year than last year also helped to goose TV ad spending.

"Without these factors, Q2 ad spend growth would have been lower by about one full percentage point," Mr. Swallen said.

Ad spending for TV as a whole in the second quarter grew 6.4%, with cable TV seeing a 14.9% boost and broadcast TV rising 4.9%, according to Kantar Media. Along with the assist from the NBA playoffs, TV's second-quarter business also benefited from a scheduling change that moved the NCAA Final Four basketball games into April from March.

Higher prime-time ad prices at some of the networks also helped to drive the increase, according to Kantar Media. Spanish language TV spending increased 6.1% in the second quarter, while dollars going to spot TV declined 3.5% during that same time. The lack of political ads helped drag down spending on local TV stations, Kantar Media said.

Consumer magazines' print advertising climbed 1.9%, based on their rate card prices, but the number of ad pages fell 2.1%, Kantar Media noted.,Sunday magazines followed a similar pattern, with a 4.1% boost in print ad spending but a 6.3% drop in pages.

Ad spending on local papers' print editions declined 4.3% as auto dealers, financial services and retailers reined in their budgets. National newspapers' print editions held roughly even with a 0.5% decline, according to Kantar Media.

Internet display advertising climbed 4.1% thanks partly to increased spending from financial service and telecom marketers. The actual increase is likely higher, however, because Kantar Media does not include video or mobile ads,in its totals for the web.

The top advertiser from April through June was the usual No. 1, Procter & Gamble, which spent $804.8 million on marketing, a 35.3% boost from the prior year. AT&T and General Motors were also again among the top spenders. AT&T poured $501.8 million into advertising in the second quarter, good for a 33.2% increase. GM spent $378.6 million, which represents a 28% spike.

Their growth rates are inflated, however, because last year the companies concentrated much of their spending on the Summer Olympics, which took place during the third quarter, Kantar Media said.

Retail marketers comprised the largest ad category in the second quarter, spending $3.8 billion in measured media, essentially unchanged -- up 0.1% -- from last year. Spending on auto ads was up 6.9% to $3.6 billion. Telecom saw the largest increase at 19.5%, to $2.4,billion.

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