MILAN: Advertising expenditure levels increased by almost 5% in Italy during the first half of this year, with the food, beverage and telecoms industries among the main drivers of this trend.

According to figures from Nielsen, the research firm, adspend in the country climbed by 4.7% year-on-year in H1 2010, to €4.5bn ($5.9bn; £3.7bn) in all.

This included an uptick of 9.7% in June, with the start of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa - a time when many marketers sought to connect with male consumers.

By media, television saw revenues jump by 7.3% in the first half compared with the same period in 2009, and was also the channel that "benefited most from the World Cup."

Radio recorded an improvement of 14.8%, a total which stood at 14.6% for the web, 7.3% for digital outdoor, 4.5% for direct mail and 3.8% for traditional out-of-home formats such as billboards and posters.

Elsewhere, newspapers and cinema remained largely flat with expansions of less than 1%, while magazines and free press titles registered contractions of 9.1% and 8.2% respectively.

Brand owners in the food category heightened their spend by 10% in H1, with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks manufacturers boosting budgets by 9.2%, telecoms providers by 2.3% and automakers by 1.1%.

The number of companies running campaigns on TV in the first half of 2010 rose by 11.6% to 1,192, with radio generating growth of 7.9% to 793 on this measure, and the internet by 25.7% to 2,315 businesses overall.

Data sourced from Reuters/ASCA; additional content by Warc staff