The Asia-Pacific region--with China and India accounting for a chunk of the expansion--saw spending climb nearly 10%. Growth in Africa was strong--up 16%, with South Africa posting 15.3% growth, which Nielsen labeled "stunning."
Nielsen said spending related to the U.S. presidential campaign helped offset negative factors, such as the Hollywood writers' strike. Among traditional media, television showed the highest growth rate globally in the first quarter, up 6.9%. Radio was second at a 1.1% increase, with newspapers up 0.4%. Magazines saw a 0.9% drop. (In the U.S. at least, magazines may benefit the least from political spending.)
Television accounts for 60% of all global ad dollars, Nielsen said. In Europe, where TV accounts for half of the ad market, the medium was the only one posting growth in 1Q, with a 2.2% climb.
Nielsen said the health-care category accounted for about 10% of spending, the largest single sector.
The impact from the coming Beijing Olympics is expected to lead to a notable increase for the second half of the year, with a massive jump in China. It remains to be seen, however, whether any percentage increase will outpace an uptick from 2003 to 2004, the last year with a Summer Games.