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U.S. advertising spending totaled $144 billion in 2011

March 13, 2012 |  4:00 am

Network television advertising fell 2% last year, despite a strong fourth quarter including the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers

Television advertising once again formed the bedrock of the U.S. advertising industry, which closed the books on 2011 at $144 billion in spending.

Overall advertising spending rose slightly -- 0.8% -- over 2010, according to data just released by Kantar Media, which tracks spending.

Network television advertising fell 2% last year, despite a strong fourth quarter lifted by popular NFL football games, Major League Baseball's World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, and Fox's new singing competition, "X Factor."

Ad revenue to national syndicated TV programming jumped 15.4%, with department stores and health and beauty brands increasing their buys. Spanish-language television ad spending climbed 8.3% for the year. Cable television advertising grew 7.7%, the Kantar study found.

Advertising revenue for Internet media inched up a mere 0.4% for the year. Internet display ads were up 5.5% but paid search was down 2.8%.

Most worrisome to media companies that rely on advertising was a pullback in spending by marketers during the fourth quarter.  Revenue declined 1% compared with the fourth quarter of 2010 -- marking the first quarterly decline since the end of 2009.  Kantar said ad growth rates have been slowing sequentially for five consecutive quarters.

“Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending," said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. "Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly toward emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds.”

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-- Meg James

Photo: Former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols celebrates his team's victory in the 2011 World Series.  Pujols now plays for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press

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