LONDON: Most of the largest media agencies in the UK suffered a decline in billings last year, as advertisers reined in their expenditure levels in the difficult economic conditions.

According to Nielsen, the research firm, eight of the country's ten biggest media shops experienced an annual decrease on this measure, with top-ranked MediaCom down by 10%, to £932.5 million ($1.4bn; €1.02bn).

OMD held on to second place from 2008, but saw its figures slide by 2.7% year-on-year, to £768.8m, while Carat rose from fourth to third in the same period, despite seeing a contraction of 5.9%, to £659.1m.

This is because Mindshare – which slipped from third to fourth on an annual basis – suffered a still-steeper fall of 16.5%, to £596.1m.

Starcom experienced the biggest drop of all, off by 22.5%, to £442m, moving from fifth to sixth place in the prices.

Mediaedge:cia, by contrast, was up by 9.4% to £484.9m, and rose from seventh to fifth, while Vizeum jumped from tenth to eighth on the back of an uptick of 7.5%, to £207.9m.

WPP Group owned three of the top five agencies, in the form of MediaCom, Mindshare and Mediaedge:cia, while OMD is part by Omnicom Group, and Carat is a unit of Aegis.

Data sourced from Brand Republic/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff