Kantar Media says U.S. advertising gained 0.7% in 2014.
Four of the largest U.S. advertisers spent fewer dollars than the year before. Procter & Gamble was down 14.4% to $2.64 billion, General Motors was off 8.2% to $1.65 billion, AT&T was 12.7% lower to $1.63 billion, and Comcast Corp. slipped 5.9% to $1.55 billion.
Overall, the top 10 U.S. advertisers lowered spending by 4.2%.
However, Kantar Media says midsize companies -- ranked 100 through 1001, which have a much bigger share of spending at 34% -- continue to showed gains, as they have over the last four years. Midsize companies were up 4.6% over the percentage a year before.
The best-performing advertising category in 2014 was insurance -- health, auto, or otherwise -- up 7.8% to $5.86 billion. Next was local services, improving 4.7% to $9.6 billion, and helped by providers who connected to health care and housing markets.
Two of the biggest categories dropped: Retail was down 2.1% to $15.8 billion, while automotive sank 6.8% to $14.2 billion.
Spending on cable TV was up 6.8%. Kantar notes that over the last four years, the average cable network has added 12% more commercial inventory.
Broadcast TV network spending improved 2.5%, with about 80% of the gain coming from the Winter Olympics. Spot TV grew due to political advertising, up 5.5%. Spanish-language TV was up 14.7%, largely thanks to the World Cup. Syndication advertising added on 0.6%.
Magazine spending was down 5.1%, newspapers trimmed 10%, and radio lost 3.9%. Outdoor edged down 0.2%, and Internet display advertising inched up 0.9%.