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.

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.