The presidential election and the Athens Olympics have given a healthy boost to the business of advertising in the USA this year.

Latest figures released by researcher TNS Media Intelligence/CMR show adspend has risen by more than 10% in the nine months to September 30, coming in at a robust $102.4 billion (€77bn, £54bn).

The Olympic Games garnered total TV revenue of nearly $1.6bn, a 20% increase over Sydney 2000. On the NBC network, which comandeered most of the coverage, 160 different advertisers aired commercials during the sixteen days of the games.

Political advertising, ramped up by the the pre-poll insult-fest between President George W Bush and losing opponent John Kerry, is forecast to top out at $1.45bn by the end of the year.

The world's biggest spender, consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, has ploughed $2.1bn into US advertising so far this year, a 6.7% increase on the same period in 2003.

Car titan General Motors took second place in the high roller stakes with $1.9bn, a rise of nearly 15%, while media behemoth Time Warner came in third with a spend of $1.3bn.

Says TNS/CMR president and ceo Steven Fredericks: "Throughout 2004 the advertising market has experienced steady, healthy growth with increases in all three quarters.

"In an era characterised by audience fragmentation, advertisers recognise the value of advertising during high profile, must-see events such as the Olympics."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff