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National TV Ad Spending Grew 4.2% in February: SMI

The national television advertising business was strong in February, before the Coronavirus crisis gripped the country.

According to new data from Standard Media Index, national TV spending rose 4.2% in February from a year ago, with broadcast up 6.1% and cable gaining 2.8%.

Spending in scatter was up 3.5%, with broadcast up 3.75 and cable up 3.2%. Advertising bought during the upfront was up 7.7% from a year ago. Direct response advertising was down.

Broadcast news programming showed big gains, up 28.7%,k driven in part by Democratic Presidential debates. Cable news was up 10.3%.

Entertainment programming on programming dropped 3%. CBS was down 24.2%, partly because the Grammy Award show moved from February last year to January this year. Fox was up 52.2%, powered by the episode of The Masked Singer that appeared after the Super Bowl. The Oscars on ABC dropped 1.2%.

Cable entertainment programming was up 0.7%. HGTV, TBS and Food Network had the most ad volume.

Spending on sports programming was up 12.8%, with the Super Bowl on Fox generating $26.9% more spending than last year’s game on CBS. Fox sold more units at higher prices. NBA revenue was up 2.7% despite lower ratings.

SMI said its figures were adjusted for leap year.

SMI gets its data directly from the computer systems in most of the big media agency holding companies.