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U.S. advertising sales edge up 1% to $140 billion in 2013

U.S. advertising sales edge up 1% to $140 billion in 2013
Companies spent $140 billion advertising in the U.S. in 2013. Cable television and Spanish-language television showed strength. Above, Spanish-language morning show co-host Raul Gonzalez (right) with guest co-host and actress Sherlyn Gonzalez on Univision's "Despierta America" program last year. (Taimy Alvarez / Sun Sentinel)

U.S. advertising spending inched up nearly 1% last year to $140.2 billion as large companies spent more to market their products and services.

Ad spending rose for cable TV, Internet display and Spanish-language media. Demand for commercials in TV sports programming also remained strong, according to a report released Tuesday by Kantar Media, which tracks ad spending.

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But the report uncovered a troubling economic trend.

"The ad market is currently being carried by the top 1,000 advertisers who, as a group, are steadily spending more while the long tail of small-sized marketers is sharply cutting back," said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America.

Large companies increased spending 3.3% last year from the prior year, but smaller firms slashed their marketing budgets 6.6%, the Kantar report found.

Large advertisers make up three-quarters of the U.S. ad market.

Several long-term trends continued.

Cable TV ad spending increased 7.3% in 2013, led by spending by automotive, consumer products, restaurants and phone companies. Cable networks also sold more minutes of commercial time, which helped to lift overall revenue.

But Kantar found that network TV expenditures slipped 3.4%. Increases from live sports programming, including NFL football and post-season baseball and basketball, did not make up for the absence in spending on the Olympics, which occur every other year.

Auto companies spent heavily for TV time to influence consumers who have been jumping into the car market.

Spending on Spanish-language television increased 2.9% in 2013 because of higher demand for broadcast network air time.

Online display ad spending soared 15.7%, helped by increased buys from financial services, telecommunications and travel companies.

Spending on outdoor ads increased 4.4%, with the continuing expansion of digital signs contributing to the higher total.

Meanwhile, ad spending on radio fell 5.6% and 3.7% for newspapers. Ad spending on magazines rose 1.8%.

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