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August TV Ad Revenue In 11% Olympic Dive

Corrected at 4 p.m. ET

Spending on TV advertising is up 2% this year despite an 11% drop in August, compared to a year ago when NBC broadcast the Summer Olympics.

While NBC was down 69% in ad revenue in August, according to research company Standard Media Index, the other broadcast networks showed healthy double-digit gains with their summer programming.

Spanish-language broadcast networks also registered big gains in August, with Univision up 23%, Telemundo up 21% and UniMas up 44%.

Overall, broadcast networks were down 29% in August.

For the year to date, broadcast TV is down 1% in ad revenue. CBS is up 20%, ABC is up 11%, Fox is flat and NBC is down 32%, largely due to the comparison to last year's Olympics.

Ad spending on national cable networks was up 12% in August, according to SMI.

Nickelodeon, which is pulling out of a ratings plunge that hurt revenues and earnings at parent company Viacom, had a 42% increase in ad revenues in August. So far this year, Nick is up 1%.

ESPN has had the most ad revenue among cable networks so far this year, riding a 19% jump in August. So far this year, ESPN's ad revenues are up 1% despite a 32% ratings decline in the second quarter. Ad revenues for the No. 2 network TNT were down 3% in August, but are up 12% this year.

Other big gainers in August included AMC, up 64%; MTV, up 76%; Discovery, up 38%;  History up 29%; A&E up 29%; HGTV, up 26% and Food Network up 24%.

So far this year, ad spending on cable is up 6%. Big gainers for the year so far are AMC, Lifetime, History and BET.

Syndication ad revenues were up 6% in August and have shown a 1% gain so far this year.

Spot TV was down 26% in August compared to 2012's election bonanza, and is down 2% so far this year. Local spending on stations and MSOs is down 15%, but up 7% for the year.

Spending on digital advertising was up 16% in August and up 21% so far this year. Spending on digital video was up 56% for the month.

SMI's data comes directly from media buying agency spending records representing about 60% of the market. Included in the data is media spending by Vivaki, Mediabrands, Aegis Media and Havas Media.

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.