This bodes well for a year with the presidential elections and the London Olympics still on the horizon. Overall, advertising expenditures in the U.S. rose 2.6% year-over-year during first-quarter 2012, good for $32.9 billion, according to a Kantar Media report released today. The study found that the 4% growth seen during February and March marked the best stretch in more than 12 months. The television sector led the way with gains in every vertical as sporting events fueled a 7.4% rise in cable TV spend and a 7% rise in network. Syndication, spot and Spanish-language TV also grew, the latter by 20.7%. Print, meanwhile, saw declines across the board, and Internet display ads fell by 4.1%. Among advertisers, Procter & Gamble was top-ranked with spending of $685 million, down 5.5% from a year ago. Comcast was second overall with $482.7 million, a 4.3% increase, as it rolled out its Xfinity service. Among top 10 media companies, News Corp increased its spend by 24.9% (to $357.5 million) and Time Warner by 9% (to $301.5 million) thanks mostly to movie ads promoting summer tentpoles.

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