LONDON: Sky, the entertainment and communications company, was the biggest advertiser on traditional media (i.e., excluding internet advertising) in the UK in 2017, spending £197.1m over the year according to new data from Nielsen.

The measurement business reported that Sky had increased its spending 2.7% and supplanted Procter & Gamble, the FMCG company, as the country’s leading advertiser; P&G spending dipped 1.4% to £196.8m.

BT, one of Sky’s rivals in the entertainment and communications sectors, kept its third spot, spending £144.1m, 3.8% less than in 2016, while another, Virgin Media, dropped to eighth as it significantly reduced its spending – down 30.1% to £72.1m.

P&G rival Unilever, meanwhile, remained in fourth, although it had boosted expenditure on traditional media by 11.3% to reach £116.8m; Reckitt Benckiser, however, dropped to seventh spot as it cut spending by 16.7% for a total of £88.2m.

Tesco (up 71.6% to £89.5m) and Samsung (up 43.5% to £66.6m) had the largest annual increase among the top 100 spenders. Consequently they became new entrants to the top 10 – jumping 14 and 18 places, respectively – replacing Amazon (down 16.5%) and furniture retailer DfS (down 13.5%).

Waitrose, and Google completed the top five in terms of the biggest percentage rise in traditional ad spend.

“It was quite a chalk and cheese year in terms of how the very biggest advertisers changed their emphasis on traditional advertising,” noted Barney Farmer, Nielsen’s UK commercial director.

“Half spent more, half spent less, with the likes of Tesco and Samsung ramping up spend dramatically, in complete contrast to that of Virgin and Aldi.

“Of course, the differences are due to many factors including the competitive state of their sector, the changing allocation towards digital but also the wider uncertainty caused by Brexit,” he added.

Overall, the Top 100 spent 3.5% less on traditional advertising in the UK than in 2016 but still accounted for 60% of spend, while the overall market fell by 2.5% or £258.1m, according to Nielsen.

The AA/WARC Expenditure Report for 2017 will be published on Thursday, giving full details of verified spending on traditional advertising media during last year but also internet spending, including social media, content & native and online video.

Sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff