US advertising spend grew 4.4% to $33.5 billion (€27.38bn; £18.48) in the first quarter of 2005, compared with the same the same period last year.
The gain was the slimmest since the end of 2003, according to ad-tracking firm TNS Media Intelligence.
Says TNS president/ceo Steven Fredericks: "It is clear that advertisers were fiscally more cautious in the first quarter of 2005, given mixed economic indicators and wavering consumer confidence."
Among electronic media, cable TV and the internet saw the biggest gains in ad dollars with respective rises of 18.2% (to $3.5bn) and 8.2% (to $1.9bn). Broadcast TV networks' ad revenues grew by 3.8% to $5.8bn, but network radio was down 3.2%.
In the print sector local magazines notched the biggest percentage rise, up 26.2% to $104 million. Adspend in consumer magazines rose by 9.5% to $4.7bn. Local newspapers, on the other hand, struggled to register a small 0.3% increase.
The auto sector remained the number one source of advertising, with domestic and foreign carmakers and dealers spending a combined $4.1bn.
Spending in the top ten advertising categories rose 4.9% to $14.3 billion in calendar Q1, compared with the same time period a year earlier.
Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff