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Ad Spending on TV Falls In May

Spending on TV advertising was down in May, another sign that the upfront market currently underway is likely to be fairly weak.

Research company Standard Media Index said broadcast TV was down 8% for the month and 7% for the first two months of the second quarter. Cable was down 3% in May and 4% for the quarter to date.

Spending on TV bought during last year’s upfront was down 10% in May for the broadcasters and 4% for cable networks. The scatter market was up 2% for broadcast, but down 1% for cable. TV networks did better on the digital side with their online offerings up 10%.

“May’s results are a mirror image of the last few months. Digital continues to surge at the expense of other media. TV ratings were soft in May and we see SMI’s numbers following in lock step with these results,” says James Fennessy, chief commercial officer for SMI. “Digital video continues to grow, and as audience measurement on mobile devices improves, we are confident that these gains will accelerate and positively impact the spend going to the major networks.”

SMI says NBC was the only broadcast network to show growth in May. In cable, ABC Family was up by double digits. Showing strong single-digit gains were Food Network, HGTV, AMC, ESPN and Lifetime.

Total advertising was up 2% in May with digital providing most of the lift by growing at a 24% clip. Video sites showed a 29% gain, social media jumped 56% and internet radio was up 44% Digital now controls a 30% share of media spending, up five percentage points from a year ago.

Among the traditional media, out of home media posted an 8% increase.

SMI gets its spending data directly from the computer systems at media buying agencies representing 80% of all ad dollars.

(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)