Advertising Association figures show adspend upturn

The ad industry's success in making up ground lost during the recession has been reflected in new figures showing a 4.8 increase in UK spend during the first quarter of the year.

Adspend totalled £3,645 million during the period - the strongest growth since the fourth quarter of 2002 - according to figures released by the Advertising Association.

Andrew Brown, the AA's director-general, welcomed the increase, which represents a 3.5 per cent rise in real terms after adjusting for inflation.

"It feels like a corner has been turned," he said. "There is a genuine sense of optimism that advertising as a percentage of gross domestic product is growing again."

The recovery is being led by the outdoor sector, which recorded a 9.1 rise in spending during the quarter to £185 million. Industry commentators attribute its success to a high level of investment and innovation, which belies its history as one of the most traditional of media.

Outdoor advertising's success has been closely mirrored by radio, which saw an 8.3 per cent rise in ad revenue to £133 million. This is seen as testament to the continuing success of the Radio Advertising Bureau in selling radio as a potent advertising vehicle.

The upward trend was also apparent in national newspapers where adspend grew by 3.2 per cent to £511 million and television, where revenues jumped by 3.7 per cent to £880 million.

However, there are lingering fears that an oil crisis could hit future growth.