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Olympic Hangover for Q1 TV Ad Spending

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

Spending on cable rose 4.1%. Broadcast was down 9.2%, Kantar said, but after stripping out the effects of Olympic spending, it was flat. Spanish language TV was up 4.8%, while 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.”