NEW YORK: Advertising expenditure levels climbed by 6.5% in the US last year, reaching $131bn (€94bn; £81bn) overall, according to figures from research firm Kantar Media.

The company revealed the acceleration in spending hit 7% in the final quarter of 2010, suggesting a hardening of sentiment on the part of the marketing community.

Jon Swallen, Kantar Media North America's svp, research, said: "The feel good headline is the ad economy grew by 6.5% in 2010."

"The more comprehensive assessment is that increased spending has not benefitted all sectors equally."

Television registered a 10.3% lift, including surges of 24.2% for spot TV, 10.7% regarding Spanish-language stations, 9.8% concerning cable and 5.3% when discussing network TV's expansion.

The syndicated national category thus constituted the only TV format where demand fell, off 2.8% on an annual basis.

Newspaper returns dropped 3.5%, as the 2.7% improvement delivered by national newspapers and a 2% gain among Spanish-language titles was offset by the 4.6% contraction for local press publications.

Magazine ad sales, boosted by Hispanic, consumer and Sunday offerings, grew 2.9%, an amount coming in at 7.6% for radio, 9.6% covering outdoor and 5.4% relating to free-standing inserts.

Looking online, clients raised the resources committed to display rose by 9.9% measured against the prior 12 months.

"While television media have recouped their losses from the 2009 advertising downturn, several other large segments are still 15-to-20% below their 2008 peaks," said Swallen.

The ten biggest advertisers raised budgets by 3.7% during the equivalent timeframe, hitting $16.3bn, while the top 100 strengthened its collective investment by 8.8%, supplying nearly half the broader total.

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble headed the charts for the eighth successive year, heightening its outlay by 17.7%, on $3.1bn.

Automaker General Motors took second, down 1.3% and generating $2.1bn, closely followed by telco AT&T, up 12.1% and just short of the $2.1bn benchmark.

Communications conglomerate Verizon slashed expenses by 15.2%, yielding $1.8bn, and media group News Corp augmented its outgoings by 10.5%, on $1.4bn.

Pharma titan Pfizer was off 11.7%, spending $1.2bn, and entertainment specialist Time Warner's figures were flat at $1.2bn, but healthcare company Johnson & Johnson observed a 7.5% reduction, securing $1.1bn.

Ford, the carmaker, allocated similar funds to promoting its vehicles, thanks to an 11.1% jump, with cosmetics and beauty house L'Oréal on the same number, after a 30.6% increase.

The auto sector was the largest in dollar terms, as competing manufacturers and dealers recorded a combined 19.8% leap, posting $13bn.

Telecoms saw a 4% improvement, on $8.8bn, and local services provided almost $8bn, a 6.9% lift.

Retailers, excluding department, home furnishing and building stores, bettered the previous year by 9.3% on $7.7bn, slightly ahead of financial services, up 6%.

Food and candy brands claimed a 7% increase and an outlay of $6.7bn, personal care surged 11.7% and lodged $6.1bn, and restaurants expanded 2.3%, directing $5.7bn to this activity.

Pharma experienced an 8.2% slide on $4.3bn, meaning the top ten categories were responsible for $74.1bn in expenditure, a 6.5% annual enhancement.

Data sourced from Kantar Media; additional content by Warc staff