July National TV Ads Up 3% Excluding World Cup

National television advertising revenue rose 3% in July excluding revenue from the World Cup.

Cable was a big gainer, increasing 5% compared to a year ago, while broadcast was down at 1%, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

SMI says the 3% increase in revenue is partly the result of a 2% increase in the number of 30-second spots. That’s a bit of a surprise with so much talk from network executives about trying to improve the viewer experience by cutting commercial clutter in order to better compete for viewers with ad-free rivals like Netflix.

SMI says that the amount of make good spots—free ads given to advertisers when ratings fall short of guarantees—was down 16% in July.

“The decline in [make goods] is a positive sign for the industry, indicating that programs are delivering the expected audience figures this month,” said SMI CEO James Fennessy, “National TV declined in the previous three months (April-June), and it’s encouraging to see this trend reverse towards growth.”

In July, spots bought in the upfront market grew 5%, while the scatter market grew 1%.

Revenue from entertainment programming was up 3% with primetime original programming generated 8% more advertising revenue.

Most of the originals were reality shows. Revenue from NBC’s America’s Got Talent was up 42% and ABC’s The Bachelorette was up 35%.

In terms of revenue from originals on the broadcast networks, CBS was up 21%, ABC rose 18% and NBC grew 8%. Fox, which aired the World Cup in July aired fewer original entertainment shows in primetime.

Comcast had the largest market share for entertainment advertising revenue with 19%. Next was Discovery (having acquired Scripps Networks) at 17, followed by Viacom at 14%, Time Warner 11%, CBS 5%.

Cable News boomed in July with the big cable outlets growing 18% from a year ago. MSNBC was up 44%, while Fox News enjoyed the highest prices for spots.

Broadcast news was up as well, with an 8% revenue gain.

Sports revenue increased 20% because of the World Cup. Excluding the soccer tournament, sports revenue was down 6% in July.

Revenue for the World Cup was down 29% from 2014. The English-language broadcasts on Fox and FS1 were down 18% from what ABC and ESPN garnered last time despite an 85% increase in the number of 30-second spots. Telemundo’s revenue was down 36% from what Univision earned. The number of spots fell 26%.

The overall advertising market was up 10% excluding the World Cup.

Digital posted a 17% gain, out of home was up 1%, radio was flat while print was down 18%.

Standard Media Index draws its data from the invoices in the computers at five of the seven major media agency holding companies, which represents about 70% of the national TV market, and model the remaining 30%.

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.