LONDON: Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal and Reckitt Benckiser were the highest-spending TV advertisers in the UK last year, new figures show.

Trade body Thinkbox has published its latest annual review of the television industry, entitled A year in TV 2010.

Based on data from Nielsen Media Research, it reported that the category increased by around 8% in size year on year, with spot and sponsorship returns expanding by an even greater 15%.

As such, television revenues reached a new peak, of £3.6bn (€4.2bn; $5.8bn) net and £4.2bn gross, in 2010.

The medium's share of overall expenditure also grew for the third year in a row, and has achieved a relative position previously held in the 1990s.

"The increase in TV ad investment reflects both commercial TV's continued success in attracting record viewing and the growing evidence of its unrivalled ability to create business profit," the study said.

"In particular, there is growing recognition of TV advertising's ability to generate web activity, from search to purchase."

On a corporate basis, Procter & Gamble - the owner of Pampers and Febreze - delivered a 31.7% improvement, reaching £156.5bn.

L'Oréal took second, down 2.7% on £86.1m, and Reckitt Benckiser occupied third despite cutting back 5.2% to £76.9m.

Unilever, in fourth, strengthened its communications support by 10%, hitting £75.2bn, and the Royal Bank of Scotland climbed 12%, to £74.2m.

The Home Retail Group, parent of Argos and Homebase, yielded a 54.6% lift, at £55.6m, but Government expenditure, in line with the promised austerity measures, fell 46.5%, on £52.9m.

Kellogg's registered a 15.1% contraction, coming in at £51.3m, Mars raised its adspend by 36.2% to £49.4m, and BSkyB's increased by over 110%, attaining £63.4m.

At the brand level, furniture retailer DFS boasted the largest total having logged a 5.6% expansion to £34.6m, figures standing at 32.6% and £29.1m regarding McDonald's.

Dreams bed superstores splashed out £23.7m, while Argos and Asda both invested more than £22m, the only other offerings above the £20m benchmark.

By sector, retail retained the lead role, and was up 24.1% year-on-year, with companies in the media and entertainment segment also jumping 16.8%, claiming second place as a result.

Financial services provided an 8.8% leap, and leisure and equipment posted a 72.3% increase, and drink grew 45.8%.

One trend driving TV's performance was the fact 967 advertisers either made their debut or returned after at least a five year break, a group including Sharp Electronics and dairy brand Yeo Valley.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff