AMSTERDAM: Global advertising expenditure rose by 1.5% in 2008, largely as a result of an uplift of 7.7% in Asia Pacific, reports The Nielsen Company's latest Global AdView Pulse, which also found that Procter & Gamble remains the world's biggest advertiser.

Despite the overall annual improvement, Nielsen states that worldwide adspend levels fell in each month of the final quarter, down by 1.0% in October, 2.3% in November and 4.8% in December.

Expenditure levels in the US and Europe also declined by 2.5% over the course of last year.

Spain recorded the biggest decline in adspend during 2008, of 14.1%, while South Korea and Taiwan also saw drops of 7.5% and 7.2% respectively.

By contrast, the Chinese ad market posted a 17.1% annual improvement, with Indonesia also up by 15.4%, and Malaysia 12.5%.

In terms of print media, magazine adspend decreased by 6.3%, with newspapers also registering a loss of 2.8%.

Newspaper revenues grew by 1% in Asia Pacific, but fell by 8.6% in North America and 4.8% in Europe.

Magazines also posted a loss of 9.6% in North America and 5.7% in Europe, only partially offset by an uplift of 2.4% in Asia Pacific.

Total TV expenditure was up by 4.2%, mainly due to an 11.7% increase in outlay in Asia Pacific region and a rise of 1.1% in North America.

Radio revenues also rose by 0.4%, including an upswing of 9.9% in Asia Pacific, while Europe was down 0.9% and North America by 3.2%.

By sector, automotive experienced the biggest reduction in media spending, dropping 6.0%, followed by the financial sector, down 4.6%, with durables and telecoms also cutting back.

In contrast, distribution channels saw growth of 9.5%, largely due to an upturn in retailers' promotional activity, while healthcare spending rose 6.7% and entertainment grew by 5.2%.

General Motors was in second place to P&G among the biggest-spending advertisers, followed by Unilever, Ford and Toyota in the top five.

Data sourced from The Nielsen Company; additional content by WARC staff