Ad expenditures, at $35.8B, were up for the sixth consecutive quarter with the strongest year-over-year growth rate since late 2010, Kantar Media reports this morning. But there were big differences between the two April-to-June periods. Last year “spending was deflated by major advertisers who conserved budgets in advance of the Summer Olympics and this makes current year growth appear larger,” says Kantar Media Chief Resaearch Officer Jon Swallen. In addition, the NCAA Final Four basketball playoffs moved from March to April, which “generated a sizable windfall of extra TV ad revenue. Without these factors, Q2 ad spend growth would have been lower by about one full percentage point.” With these idiosyncrasies, total TV ad sales rose 6.4% in Q2 with cable +14.9%, network TV +4.9%, spot TV -3.5% (it would have been flat if you took away last year’s political ads), Spanish language TV +6.1% and national syndication -1.2%. Spending across all media by the top 10 advertisers rose 15.7% to $4.1B but that includes extraordinary increases by companies including Procter & Gamble (+35.3%), AT&T (+33.2%) and General Motors (+28.0%) that kept their powder dry for the Olympics. The top spending media companies in Q2 — mostly buying ads for summer movies — were Comcast (-17.4% to $393.2M), News Corp (+8.2% to $322.5M) and Time Warner (+6.9% to $316.0M). Retailers were the top buyers overall at $3.8B, virtually flat vs last year, followed by auto companies ($3.6B, +6.9%), local services ($2.4B, +4.4%), and telecom ($2.4B, +4.4%). In addition to TV spending, advertising was +1.6% for magazines, -3.6% for newspapers, +4.1% for Internet display spots, -2.2% for radio, +7.4% for outdoor, and +2.8% for newspaper and magazine inserts.