NEW YORK: The growth in US advertising expenditure witnessed during the first half of the year ground to a near halt in the third quarter latest figures have shown.

According to the latest report from research firm Kantar Media, total US adspend rose just 0.3% in the quarter to reach $33.7bn. This compared with growth of 3.1% during the first six months of the year.

"A principal cause was Top 100 marketers becoming more restrained with their budgets," said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America.

One example of this trend was Procter & Gamble: at $2bn, its spending for the first nine months was 16.1% down on the same period a year earlier.

In contrast, however, mid-size marketers – the "core of the market" said Swallen – were increasing their spending by between 6% and 7%.

Television was the only media sector to register any growth during the quarter, up 6.5%. But this figure concealed some widely differing experiences. Spanish language TV was the star performer, up 23.7% helped by the final couple of weeks of the World Cup in July.

Spending on cable TV networks was up 7.9%, with Kantar Media attributing one-third of the gain attributable to increased commercial time. Spot TV spending was up 5.2%, with political spending the primary contributor here.

Together these three TV segments were responsible for an estimated $700m of growth, said Kantar Media, which had offset weaker results from network TV (+0.2%) and national syndication (+1.6%).

Internet display advertising saw a 1.7% decline in the quarter, although this figure refers only to desktop advertising and does not include growing areas such as mobile.

Print media's downward trend continued, with newspaper adspend falling 13% and that of magazines 4.9%. Radio media was down 5.3% and outdoor 2.7%.

Warc's International Ad Forecast (a free sample of which can be downloaded here), released this month, expects US adspend growth of 5.4% this year, followed by further growth of 4.4% in 2015. Internet (including mobile) will be a key growth driver – at 15.9% – in 2014.

Data sourced from Talking New Media; additional content by Warc staff