Spending increased 3% to $104.1 billion

NEW YORK — Cable and the Web continued to benefit from higher ad spending in the first nine months of this year, although total ad spend in the third quarter was down slightly from 2004 (by 0.3%) due to the absence of a presidential election and the Olympics.

Local media ad spending also dropped a fraction in the third quarter, according to stats released Wednesday by TNS Media Intelligence, in line with the disruptions of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Losses, however, represented only about one-tenth of 1% of the $13.3 billion splashed on local media during that period.

Overall, ad spending for the first nine months of 2005 increased 3% to $104.1 billion, thanks to cable growth of 12.2%, an Internet jump of 11.5% and a 2.5% rise for local newspapers, which also were the biggest category, receiving $18.3 billion.

Network TV was the second leading category, with $16.1 billion, down a hair from last year.

The top 10 advertisers cranked up spending to $13 billion, up 2.2% year-to-year, with General Motors continuing to lead the pack with $2.2 billion. Time Warner, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsico also were on the rise.

The automotive industry continued to dominate spending, with both restaurants and financial services also seeing an increase.

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