LONDON: UK advertising expenditure reached its highest point for five years in 2012, according to new figures from the Advertising Association and Warc.

The latest AA/Warc Expenditure Report revealed that adspend rose 2.3% in 2012, when it totalled £17.17bn. The last time such a figure was recorded was in the pre-recession year of 2007, when adspend reached £17.36bn.

Growth is predicted to accelerate over the next two years, with increases of 2.7% and 5% forecast for 2013 and 2014 respectively.

A change in the report's methodology means that, for the first time, the impact of digital adspend for newspapers, magazines and TV was tracked separately. This reflects the move away from print-only publications to multi-platform properties and the rise of video on demand (VOD).

In the case of the latter, strong growth is predicted to continue, albeit from a low base. Broadcaster VOD adspend grew 73.3% in 2012, with rises of 44.2% and 33.3% expected in the two subsequent years. Overall, TV expenditure grew only 0.4% in 2012 but this is forecast to pick up by 3.8% in 2013 and 6.9% in 2014. 

National newsbrands, previously classified as newspapers, saw a 6% decline in 2012, with zero growth predicted for 2013. But this will pick up in 2014, with 2.7% growth, driven partly by a 20.3% increase in digital newsbrand adspend.

A similar pattern is expected for magazine brands, previously magazines, with a 1.7% decline in 2013 partly cancelled out by growth of 1.1% in 2014.

The change in methodology was welcomed by Tim Elkington, Director of Research and Strategy at IAB UK, the digital trade body, as bringing greater clarity to where advertising budgets are being invested.

"The increase in granularity shows just how vital digital is to the wider market," he said. "Digital is making a really positive contribution to the advertising economy - whether you consider the internet advertising total or the contribution that it makes to individual media." 

Suzy Young, Warc's Data and Journals Director, added: "We believe this unique approach is a truer representation of today's changing media landscape and provides a view of adspend that is relevant to agencies, advertisers and media owners."

Data sourced from AA, Warc