Advertisers spent RM10.76bil on media expenditure last year, up 11.9% from 2010, according to the latest data from market research firm Nielsen Malaysia.
The surprisingly tepid advertising expenditure (adex) growth in the fourth quarter at 8.3% year-on-year dragged down total adex growth for the year.
Adex had soared 15% in the first half of 2011, and it continued to expand by double-digit percentage (11.3%) in the third quarter.
Adex growth for last year came at the bottom end of the 12% to 15% range forecast by media specialists contacted by StarBiz in November.
Television and newspapers retained their lion's share of adex in 2011, with 50.9% and 40.5% respectively (see table).
The 12 Astro channels monitored by Nielsen under the pay TV category recorded the biggest revenue growth of 26.7%, followed by the selected websites under the Internet category with 22.1%.
Free-to-air TV, which grew a whopping 18.2% in 2010, saw a drastic slowdown in growth to 4.2% last year.
In fact, FTA TV adex contracted in the fourth quarter by 4.2%.
Newspapers, meanwhile, continued to grow by double digits last year despite already having a large base.
Unilever and Procter & Gamble remained the country's biggest advertising spenders in 2011.
Still going strong: Newspapers continued to grow by double digits last year despite already having a large base.
Healthcare product company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), previously fifth, took over the third spot from Maxis.
GSK, whose products include Ribena, Sensodyne and Panadol, was the top advertising spender in the final quarter of 2011.
Basically the same advertisers made it to the top 10 list again, with Canon Marketing being the only new entry.
As for ad spending by product/service category, local government institutions regained its top spot in 2011 by knocking down mobile line services by a rung.
Photography rose 10 notches last year to clinch sixth place.