Total advertising expenditures increased 0.8 percent in 2011 and finished the year at $144.0 billion, according to new data released by Kantar Media, a provider of strategic advertising and marketing information.

The big story in 2011 was the jump in Spanish language TV ad spending, up 19.1 percent in the fourth quarter, paced by higher sell-out levels at over-the-air networks. For the entire year, the ad spend in this segment increased 8.3 percent.

McDonald's was fourth among the top 10 advertisers in Hispanic Media. The category featured a total ad spend of $1.4 million across media during 2011, an increase of 29.2 percent year-over-year.

McDonald's spent a total of $114.4 million in 2011, a 2.6 percent decline from its 2010 Hispanic ad spend. Only Broadcasting Media Partners, Procter & Gamble Co. and Dish Network Corp. spent more toward this audience.

Overall, the restaurant industry was ninth across all categories, spending $5.8 million, compared to $5.6 million in 2010. It finished behind the automotive, miscellaneous retail, local services, financial services, telecom, personal care products, food and candy, and direct response industries.

Television continued to lead the ad market, with TV expenditures jumping 7.7 percent year-over-year.

Ad spending during the fourth quarter of 2011 dropped 1.0 percent versus the year ago period, the first quarterly decline since the end of 2009. Since reaching a post-recession peak in Q3 2010, advertising growth rates have slowed sequentially for five consecutive quarters. Some are speculating this decline may be a result of increased digital efforts, which is currently not measured.

"The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011," said Jon Swallen, SVP Research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. "Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds."

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