MOSCOW: Adspend levels rose by 10% in Russia during the first half of this year, as brand owners heightened their efforts to connect with consumers in this key emerging market.

AKAP, the trade association, has reported that advertising expenditure in the country increased by 10%, to 105bn rubles ($3.4bn; €2.7bn; £2.1bn), during the opening six months of 2010. (More figures are available in Russian here.)

Within this total, television recorded an uptick of 7% to 5bn rubles, partly thanks to the World Cup in South Africa, and including an expansion of 26% among cable and satellite stations.

Competition for TV inventory is expected to rapidly intensify, with Video International having sold approximately 85% of its annual commercial airtime by mid-June.

Gazprom Media stated in the same month that September and October already had a full slate of bookings, while CTC Media plans to boost its rates by between 15% and 20% in the last quarter.

Elsewhere, AKAP estimated that outdoor revenues climbed by 13% to 15bn rubles in H1, despite a significant reduction in poster and billboard space in several major cities.

Given the lack of available sites, discounts are thought to have fallen from around 50%, as was frequently the case in 2009, to no more than 20% in 2010.

Print, radio and cinema also saw demand improve according to AKAP, indicating the ad industry as a whole is beginning to recover after a particularly challenging period at the peak of the downturn.

However, it was the internet which delivered the fastest growth in the first half as sales jumped by 33% to 11bn rubles, with this momentum set to gather further pace going forward.

Procter & Gamble was the leading online display advertiser in Russia in H1 on 220m rubles, ahead of automotive group Renault-Nissan on 183m rubles, per MindShare.

Data sourced from Lenta; additional content by Warc staff