Media pitches in

The Ad Council reported a record $1.7 billion in donated media time and space in 2004, up one-third over the previous year.

The council, a New York nonprofit, produces public service announcements to be aired using time or space donated by media outlets.

Two of the council’s projects topped $100 million in donated media, with the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness campaign receiving $199 million, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Obesity campaign garnering $109.4 million.

Radio led media groups in donations at $952 million, up 65 percent from 2003, followed by television, which dropped 9 percent to $333 million, but remained the second-highest donor.

Donations from the alternative media group, which includes outlets such as movie theaters, airplanes and convenience stores, grew almost 76 percent last year, the largest jump of any group.

The council attributes the overall growth to an effort to secure media commitments in advance, which accounted for $250 million in donated time last year, and the placement of directors in five major markets.

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