National Linear TV Ad Spending Rose 5% in April: SMI

Ad Fraud Scam
(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Advertising spending on national linear TV increased 5% in April, compared to the same month in 2021, after a flat month in March, according to new figures from Standard Media Index.

The newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery had the largest share of revenue, getting a boost from the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. WBD’s share of ad dollars rose 40% to 28%.

Also: Upfront: Warner Bros. Discovery Puts Sports in Its Premier Package

Most of the other media companies were down, except for Fox Corp., which was up 3% thanks to a boost from sports that offset decreases in reality and news. 

Cable TV accounted for about two-thirds of linear ad dollars — a new high, according to SMI, while broadcast dipped below a 30% share for the first time. 

Cable was up 18% in March. Broadcast was down 16%. Syndication was up 11%.

The April increase in linear spending was driven by a 58% jump in ad dollars going to sports programming. NBA and college basketball programming accounted for 57% of sports spending in the quarter. ■

SMI April Chart

(Image credit: Standard Media Index)

With the finals of the NCAA shifting from CBS last year to TBS, Paramount Global's sports revenue in the quarter was down 88%. Overall Paramount's share of linear ad dollars was down 17%. Disney dropped 7% and Comcast was down 2%.

Spending on entertainment programming was down 4% and spending on news dipped 3%.

A strong scatter market also contributed to the April performance.

Scatter spending climbed 13% from a year ago. Upfront was up 5% and still accounted for 75% of overall volume. Direct response was down 5%.

Despite the April gain–its biggest this year–linear TV lags 2019 levels, when digital video growth accelerated. ■

SMI Chart April

(Image credit: Standard Media Index)
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.