It's official: 2009 was a lousy year for the ad industry.

Spending on all media fell 12% in the U.S. to $125.3 billion, according to a report from Kantar Media due Wednesday.

Of 20 categories, only two were higher in 2009 compared with 2008: display Internet and free-standing inserts.

Television performed above average, falling 10%, with national syndication doing the best (off 5%) and spot TV doing the worst (down 24%).

Radio and newspaper were each down 20% and magazine was off 17%. Outdoor advertising sunk 13%.

But there is good news, because advertising slumped 15% in the first three quarters of the year but only 6% in the fourth quarter, so a recovery might have begun.

"To see an improvement of that magnitde in a single quarter is noteworthy," said Kantar senior vp of research Jon Swallen.

The category spending the most on advertising in 2009 was automotive, which purchased almost $11 billion worth of ads, 23% less than a year ago. General Motors, in fact, was one of the few big companies to spend more in 2009 than it did in 2008, even though it sold about 30% fewer vehicles.

The next biggest categories were telecom and financial services.

Movies were 15th on the list with $3.7 billion spent, almost 7% less than in the prior year. No. 13 was media other than movies, which spent almost $4 billion, 14% less than the prior year.

The Top 3 advertisers were Procter & Gamble, Verizon and General Motors. The two media companies cracking the Top 10 list of big advertisers were News Corp. at sixth and Time Warner at ninth. The former spent $1.3 billion, down 11% from the year prior and the latter spent $1.2 billion, down 7%.

Kantar also measured "branded entertainment," determining that product brands appeared by name or logo on screen for 10 minutes and 12 seconds per hour during primetime broadcast network programming in 2009. That's up from 9 minutes and 8 seconds per hour in 2008.

Kantar, though, does not distinguish between product placement that is paid for and brands that appear in shows for free.

When commercials are added into the mix, brand names and logos appear on screen on broadcast networks during primetime for 24 minutes and 16 seconds each hour.

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