* U.S. ad expenditures up for first time since 2008
* Biggest increase in ad spending since 2006
NEW YORK May 26 New data released on Wednesday
showed U.S. advertising spending rose 5.1 percent in the first
quarter, marking the first jump in two years and adding to the
signs that marketing budgets have finally begun to recover.
Kantar Media, once of the most closely watched tracking
firms, reported that advertising expenditures climbed to $31.3
billion in the first three months of the year.
The report showed that 13 of 19 media types benefited from
higher spending, led by television and radio, two areas that
were hard hit by the downturn. It also said the 5.1 percent
increase from the same period in the previous year is the
largest rise in a single quarter since 2006.
"With the economy turning from recession towards growth,
marketers appear to be more confident about a pickup in
consumer activity and have increased ad budgets to support
their brands," Jon Swallen, senior vice president for research
at Kantar Media, a unit of WPP (WPP.L), said in a statement.
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG.N) ended the quarter at the top
spending, increasing its budget 17.7 percent to $772.6 million.
It was followed by AT&T Inc. (T.N), which spent $576.4 million,
up 26.7 percent from the prior year.
Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N) reported the biggest year-on-year
increasing, boosting its budget by 46.2 percent as it
campaigned heavily behind Lipitor.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch)