NEW YORK: Amid a welter of conflicting 2006 adspend predictions from media agencies, comes hard data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Tracked advertising expenditure during the year's first nine months grew by slightly more than 5% compared with the same period in 2005.

Even so, Nielsen's figure is not in exact accord with that published last week by rival ad-tracking service TNS Media Intelligence, which conjured an increase of approximately 4%.

In the dollar-waving vanguard, according to Nielsen, is the internet, registering a 50% year-on-year gain. Way behind in number two position is Spanish-language TV, up 17%.

Then the also-rans. National newspapers and spot TV each registered increases in the region of 8%; broadcast TV rose 4% and national cable TV added 1%. And in real terms, zero growth was recorded by business-to-business magazines, national radio and newspapers.

Commenting on the rise and rise of the internet, senior director of media analytics at Nielsen's NetRatings Carolyn Creekmore observed: "As consumers continue to make the web a part of their daily media mix, so do advertisers."

Among the largest web spenders by category were financial services, retailers and telecoms companies.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff