LONDON: Half of the UK's ten biggest advertisers reined in their outlay last year, despite the improving financial climate.

Newspaper The Daily Telegraph commissioned a study by Nielsen Media Research covering the spending patterns of the largest organisations in the country.

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, took first place and boosted budgets from £158m ($245m; €184m) in 2009 to £195m in 2010, part of a global effort by the owner of Tide and Pampers to ramp up its marketing output.

These figures stood at £151m and £168m respectively regarding BSkyB, the media and communications provider, which reached a long-established internal target of securing 10m customers last October.

Unilever, the maker of Knorr and Hellmann's, occupied third with £135m, but had reduced its investment from £146m on an annual basis.

Tesco, the retailer, heightened its outlay by £7m to £125m, claiming fourth position in the process.

However, the Central Office of Information – responsible for the vast majority of governmental campaigns – registered a drop from £228m to £113m.

This is in keeping with the austerity measures recently introduced by the coalition Government, and meant the COI resigned the top spot it held in 2009.

Elsewhere, supermarket chain Asda allocated £110m to this area of its operations in 2010, a £7m increase.

BT, the telecoms specialist, followed on £108m, marking an uptick of £27m as the firm sought to attract subscribers to its pay-TV, broadband and landline services.

Furniture retailer DFS was off £7m to £94m, and household goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser trimmed £8m of expenditure, posting £75m.

Kellogg's, the food group, also cut its expenses, recording £73m in 2010, compared with £82m in 2009.

Overall, companies, charities and other relevant bodies spent £1.84bn on measured media advertising in the UK last year, Nielsen found.

Data sourced from The Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff