Olympic Hangover for 1Q TV Ad Spending

TV ad spending was down 3% in the first quarter compared to a year ago, when the Olympics generated about $600 million in incremental spending, according to new figures from Kantar Media.

Broadcast was down 9.2% Kantar said, though if you stripped out the effects of Olympic spending, broadcast was flat. Spending on cable rose 4.1% and Spanish language TV was up 4.8%, but spot TV was down 6.8% and syndication was 4.9% lower. Overall ad spending in the first quarter was down 4%, including the effects of the Olympics.

“First-quarter results are skewed by comparisons to last year and the $600 million of incremental spend generated by the Sochi Olympics,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. “Excluding the impact of special events, core ad spending measured by Kantar Media was down about 2% in the period. Even after taking into account assumptions about the growth of spend on other unmonitored media, it has been a relatively slow start for the ad market in 2015.”

Kantar included paid search in its advertising totals for the first time. Search expenditures were up 7%. Kantar said online display advertising on PC desktops was down 8.7%. The research company does not measure other forms of digital advertising, which other sources say are growing at rapid rates. Magazines were down 8.7%, newspapers were down 15.4%, radio was flat and outdoor was up 2.9%, according to Kantar.

(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

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.