Advertising expenditures rose 7.1% to $34.5 billion in the third quarter, boosted by the Summer Olympics, according to Kantar Media.
With the London Games airing on NBC, network TV expenditures rose 29.9%. Kantar estimates that the Olympics generated about $1 billion in incremental spending for the sector.
Spot TV jumped 19.8% in the quarter thanks to what Kantar called a flood of political money in an election year.
Spanish-language TV was up 17.8% and syndication grew 9.3%, showing strong growth in the packaged goods, insurance and restaurant categories.
Cable TV, usually a bigger gainer, grew just 2.9% as money got diverted to the Olympics in the quarter.
In the third quarter, total TV spending rose 15.3%. For the first three quarters of 2012, TV is up 9.1% from 2011.
"Political campaigns and the Summer Olympics delivered their expected bonanza in the third quarter, adding roughly $1.8 billion of incremental spending to the marketplace," Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, said in a statement. "Looking beyond these special events and focusing on indicators of core health, our data show that more than 60 percent of the Top 1000 advertisers increased their budgets year-over-year. This proportion has been stable for several quarters and indicates marketers are holding the course."