Christmas media agency spending was down overall compared to 2011, according to the latest figures from the Standard Media Index (SMI).
The news will come as a blow to many, who hoped for a positive performance in December from advertisers as a launch pad into 2013.
However, it is likely the -0.3% result reported today may be revised into positive territory when further figures come in to the SMI later in January, although it is unlikely to be a large jump.
Headline figures show overall TV spending down 2.9%, newspapers down 17.4%, magazines down 15.1% and radio down 0.1%.
It proved to be a positive month for digital however, with a 36.3% leap, with cinema up 10.7% and outdoor increasing by 2.1%.
Peter Vogel, managing director of MEC, said the results were slightly better than the overall year, which saw a market retraction of more than 1%, adding: "I know a lot of brands really needed a good Christmas after last year being so difficult, and some put in quite a bit of money to do that.
"I don't think it's such a bad result for the market, but obviously we would have liked it to be positive."
He said he believes 2013 will see a slight growth of the market, as brands look to go on the offensive with advertising rather than the defensive strategies currently in play.
However, OMD's CEO Peter Horgan said whilstthe December figures were "fairly consistent", he predicted another scrappy year.
He told B&T: "I think it will be fairly soft throughout the year, but it's not going to take a lot to post some reasonbly positive growth. It will be up and down again."
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