MOSCOW: Advertisers are using an increasingly diverse range of channels in Russia, with latest data showing that more was spent on digital ads than on print in 2011.

Figures from the Russian Association of Communication Agencies (AKAR) indicate that total main media adspend rose by 21% last year to reach 263.4bn rubles ($8.8bn). 

Within this total, internet increased 56% to reach 41.8bn rubles, overtaking print, which rose by just 6% to 40.4bn rubles. TV remained the largest adspend medium, up 18% to 131bn rubles.

"Despite pessimistic predictions prompted by the economic crisis, the national advertising industry is maturing and moving in the right direction," Viatcheslav Chernyackhovskiy, an adviser at AKAR, said.

"As for 2012, it is a bit premature to make any predictions due to many factors – including those that are beyond the advertising landscape."

Forecasters have indicated that the Russian advertising market will maintain its strong growth this year, despite concerns about economic conditions, fluctuating commodity prices and political instability.

According to Warc's latest International Ad Forecast, expenditure across all ATL media will rise by 16.5% across 2012, with growth outstripping that of both India (+14%) and China (+11.5%).

Russia's strong adspend growth rates over the last two years are partly attributable to the huge hit taken by the nation's advertising sector during the global economic downturn. AKAR figures show that overall main media adspend fell by over 25% in 2009.

Data sourced from AKAR/paidcontent/Warc; additional content by Warc staff