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Back-to-School Boosts TV Revenue in August

Television ad revenue rose in August, the first monthly increase since February, propelled by the back-to-school season, according to new figures from research firm Standard Media Index.

Spending on TV showed moderate 3% growth. Cable was up 3% and local TV recorded a 17% increase, but broadcast ad revenues were down from a year ago.

The English language broadcasters were hurt by the Emmy Awards shifting to September, a late start to the college football season and the U.S. Open moving to ESPN from CBS.

Cable networks showing gains included TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV and AMC.

The scatter market continued to be active for broadcast, up 16%. Scatter was flat for cable. Dollars from the upfront market were down 16% on broadcast and up 4% for cable.

Overall ad spending was up 10% in August from a year ago, the biggest monthly gain of the year.

SMI’s figures show that department store retail spending jumped 44% as back to school purchasing hit its peak. Other product categories showing big gains included quick-serve restaurants, up 38%; prescription pharmaceuticals, ahead 34%; and telecommunications, which rang up a 23% gain.

Digital advertising was strong again, up 21% in August. Social media sites saw an 87% gain and video sites were up 33%.

“Digital continues to record big double-digit percentage gains and the majority of these dollars are coming from new advertisers, rather than stealing share from traditional media. Unfortunately, broadcast TV didn’t join the party in August due to programming shifts which had a big impact on the performance of the sector.”

SMI draws its data from the computer systems at five of the six top global media agency holding companies, which represent about 80% of U.S. agency spending.

(Photo via Pictures of Money's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 17, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

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.