Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 12-09-2011

Total advertising expenditures in the first six months of 2011 increased 3.2 percent from a year ago and finished the period at $71.5 billion, according to data from Kantar Media. Spending growth eased slightly during the second quarter and was up 2.8 percent compared to last year.

"Advertising grew at a slower rate in the second quarter, contributing to speculation about the durability of an advertising recovery that is into its second year," said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar Media North America. "Key ad spend indicators are painting a mixed picture. On one hand, a majority of media types actually improved their performance from Q1 to Q2. 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 as the main source of growth."

Kantar noted that Internet media accounted for more than one-half of the dollar gain in total ad expenditures during the first six months of the year. Display spending jumped 12.9 percent and search investments rose 8.6 percent as each benefitted from a surge of money from the travel, local service and insurance categories.

Within the television sector, expenditures on cable networks increased 11.8 percent during the first half of the year while network TV spending fell 7.6 percent. One factor shaping these results was the shift of BCS college football bowl games and NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament programming from broadcast networks to cable, said Kantar, producing a large, one-time transfer of ad dollars. Supplementing this was a reallocation of TV budgets from network to cable within the prescription drug, financial service and consumer package goods categories.

Syndication TV expenditures surged 18.5 percent, reflecting more hours of monitored programming and larger budgets from auto insurers and consumer package goods marketers. Spanish language TV had a 1.7 percent increase in first-half spending as declines from bellwether telecom advertisers were offset by expanded budgets from a few financial service providers. Outlays on spot TV fell by 0.9 percent, reflecting weakness from the telecom category and a slowdown in Q2 spending by auto manufacturers.