NEW YORK: Adspend in the US grew by 4.1% last year, according to data released by TNS. The figure is significantly lower than the researcher's 5.4% forecast at the start of 2006 and less than its revised 4.9% estimate.

The top ten advertisers - including Procter & Gamble, General Motors, AT&T and Verizon - spent a combined $18.7 billion (€14.18bn; £9.71bn), down 2.8% over 2005.

P&G held onto the top spot with $3.3bn, while AT&T showed the biggest increase in spending, growing its media investment by 30.8% to $2.2bn.

In addition, says TNS svp John Swallen: "When we look across the top 10 advertising categories, which represent 50% of total ad volume, three had outright declines in 2006 and three others had gains of less than 2%. That's a lot of weakness spread across a number of different sectors but concentrated in higher-spending categories."

Pharmaceuticals proved to be the biggest spending category in 2006, with a climb of 13.8%, while telecoms and local services adspends both grew by 10.3%.

The greatest slide was, unsurprisingly, in the domestic automotive category where adspend fell 11.7%.

Despite expectations of a slowdown, online performed strongly among the media platforms. Spending rose 17.3% to reach nearly $9.8bn.

Adspend in newspapers (including local, national and Spanish-language titles) fell 2.4% last year to $28bn. Taken separately, national and Spanish-language newspapers grew 3.3% and 8.5%, respectively, while local papers slipped 3.3%.

Television and magazines performed well. Adspend in consumer magazines rose 4.6% to $23.2bn; while the overall TV market saw spending grow 5.3% to $65.4bn. Spot and Spanish-language TV both posted double-digit gains, while network- and cable-TV spending posted low-single-digit increases.

TV spending represented 43.7% of the whole media pie, up slightly from 43.2% in 2005. The web reached 6.5%, up from 5.8%. Magazines nabbed 19.9%, essentially unchanged from 20% the year before. And newspapers (18.7%) and radio (7.4%) stayed at around the same level as in 2005.

TNS predicts that adspend in the US will grow a modest 2.6% this year.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff