NEW YORK: Adspend levels rose by 3.2% year on year in the US during the first half of 2011, hitting $71.5bn overall, according to Kantar Media, the research firm.

By medium, television was up 1.8% on an annual basis, including an 11.8% improvement for cable TV and an 18.5% leap for syndicated national spots, while radio witnessed a 1.4% increase.

Magazines enjoyed a 2.9% lift in ad sales and outdoor saw demand rise by 11.8%. Newspapers were off by 0.3%, but were boosted by the comparative buoyancy of local titles.

Online grew by 10.4%, as paid search, included in Kantar's figures for the first time, experienced an 8.6% expansion, and display revenues climbed 12.9%.

"Advertising grew at a slower rate [of 2.7%] in the second quarter, contributing to speculation about the durability of an advertising recovery that is into its second year," Jon Swallen, SVP, research at Kantar Media, said in a statement.

"A majority of media types actually improved their performance ... On the other, spending growth for the top 100 advertisers stalled in Q2 and the ad market became more dependent on the comparatively smaller budgets of mid-sized advertisers."

The top 100 advertisers raised their combined outlay by a modest 0.8% in H1, with Procter & Gamble, the number one player in terms of overall investment, cutting back by 7.8% to $1.4bn.

AT&T also trimmed its ad budget by 2.6%, to just over $1.1bn, while General Motors reduced its expenditure by 13.3%, taking it to $924.6m for the opening six months of the year.

By contrast, Comcast increased its advertising support by 35.1%, on $885m. L'Oreal was up 25%, registering $626m, and Chrysler logged a 58.7% jump, to $621m.

Indeed, the automotive sector as a whole was up 9.3%, reaching $6.9bn, while local services expanded by 10% to $4.9bn, and financial services surged by 5.6% to $4.6bn.

AT&T was the top TV advertiser on $789.4m, a 3.7% decline year on year, with P&G sliding 11.3% to $763m and General Motors off 7.7% to $570m. News Corp led the newspaper charts on $285m, a 22.8% contraction.

Progressive, the insurance group, topped the online table, having raised its outlay by 105% to $165m, with Verizon also improving 67.5% to $162m, but the Experian Group was down 6% to $161m in third.

Data sourced from Kantar; additional content by Warc staff