TOKYO: Trading conditions remain highly challenging in the Japanese advertising market, but signs are emerging that marketers are increasing their activity in certain areas.

Dentsu, the country's biggest advertising company, reported that its revenues rose by 8.8% in February on an annual basis, to ¥105.7 billion ($1.2bn; €857m; £781m) overall.

Within this, digital registered an improvement of 87.6%, to ¥3.2bn, with television up by 8.2%, to ¥51.9bn, newspapers by 1.9%, to ¥9.6bn, and outdoor by 29.9%, to ¥2.7bn.

By contrast, magazines delivered a contraction of 16.7%, to ¥3.4bn, with radio also down by a more moderate 7.2%, to ¥92.8bn.

More positively, the holding group's creative operations generated an uptick of 7%, to ¥13.7bn, but its marketing and promotions arm was off by 6.7%, to ¥11.5bn.

Hakuhodo, the Asian nation's second-largest marketing services provider, saw sales fall by 12.4% at its namesake agency, to ¥316m, in February, with new media proving the only growth area overall.

Daiko and Yomiko, part of the same stable, similarly posted double-digit contractions in this period, to ¥108bn and ¥64bn respectively.

Asatsu-DK found the climate more difficult still, with its returns tumbling by 18.9%, to ¥19.3bn, in the second month of 2010.

Radio was the sole bright spot, with sales rising by 8.4%, to ¥241 million, but the other main media experienced drop offs ranging from 3.8% for digital to 29.2% for magazines.

Its billings for creative services also decreased by 30.3% to ¥2.1bn, with sales promotion sliding by almost a quarter, to ¥2.4bn.

Data sourced from Business Week/company reports; additional content by Warc staff