LONDON: The Rugby World Cup was a major factor in the UK reporting record third-quarter advertising expenditure last year according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.

The July to September quarter outperformed expectations by 0.6 percentage points, growing 6.8% year-on-year to reach a total of £4,646m.

Allied with positive trends in consumer expenditure, the full year 2015 adspend estimate has been revised upwards by 0.3pp to 6.1% growth, while the 2016 forecast has been revised upwards 0.2pp.

"This is the 9th successive quarter in which advertising growth ahead of GDP has helped to fuel the wider economy," noted Tim Lefroy, chief executive at the Advertising Association. "With growth of 5.6% expected this year [2016] our adspend forecasts remain strong," he added.

In fact, adspend is set to break the £20bn annual spend mark for the first time in 2016.

The Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report is the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK, being the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape, rather than relying solely on estimated or modelled data. It is widely used by advertisers, agencies, media owners and analysts.

The latest figures show that television spot advertising rose 10.8% to exceed £1bn for the first time in a third quarter, in part driven by the Rugby World Cup. Internet spend was up 13.2% and mobile's rapid rise continued, increasing 40.2% for the quarter; mobile spend accounted for 29% of the internet total, up from 23.5% in Q3 2014.

Cinema spend leapt ahead by 21.7% in the third quarter, and with the release of new James Bond and Star Wars films in Q4, estimates for 2015 adspend growth have been revised up to 9.4%.

Radio and out-of-home advanced steadily, the former up more than twice the rate forecast at 3.6% in the quarter, with OOH increasing 5.1% in the same period.

For national newsbrands, print advertising was down 11.3%, with digital spending up 3.6%; at regional newsbrands, print adspend had fallen 10.6% but digital spending was more robust, climbing 17.9%. The rate of overall decline among newsbrands is expected to slow during 2016.

For magazine brands both print and digital spending fell in the third quarter, by 9.4% and 0.7% respectively.

Direct mail, the third-largest ad medium in the UK, saw spend dip 0.8%, however its 2015 growth estimate stood at 2.1%.

Data sourced from AA, Warc