LONDON: Television advertising expenditure reached a record annual high in the UK during 2011, a report has revealed.

Thinkbox, the trade body, said that revenues, including linear spot ads and sponsorship, climbed 2.2% last year to £4.4bn.  Its report was based on data provided by broadcasters.

The organisation further suggested that TV may well have outperformed the advertising market as a whole, which is thought to have experienced growth of roughly 1.5% on an annual basis.

According to Tess Alps, chief executive of Thinkbox, the fact that last year's growth built on the 16% improvement posted by television in 2010 demonstrated the medium's resilience in a challenging climate.

"It's worth noting that, in addition to these revenues, TV is also driving one of the fastest growing parts of online advertising through TVOD," she added.

Nielsen Media Research figures showed that a total of 887 brands ran TV commercials for the first time or returned after a period of at least five years in 2011. Collectively, these advertisers accounted for 2.6% of spending.

Among this group was Google, the internet giant, Asics, the sports brand, Avios, the airline loyalty programme, and Unum, the insurance provider.

By category, retail remained the most valuable sector, heightening advertising investment levels by 2% year on year, as per Nielsen's estimates.

Firms in the entertainment and leisure industry, in second, boosted their outlay by 1%, while finance was up 2%. Telecoms grew by 28.8%, just ahead of travel and transport, on 27%.

Elsewhere, Thinkbox's study quoted statistics from BARB reporting that TV viewing equalled the peak set in 2010, with the average audience member enjoying four hours and two minutes of linear content a day.

The number of advertising exposures consumed also rose by 2.6% year on year, to 47 every day. This total has grown by 19.6% in the last five years.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff