SMI: TV Ad Spending Grew 5.7% in January

Advertising spending on TV rose 5.7% in January, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

Spending on cable was up 8.2%, while broadcast was up 2.8%.

The bulk of broadcast’s gains came from sports programming. Spending on sports on broadcast—including the NFL playoffs—was up 6.3%

Excluding sports—notably the NFL football playoffs—broadcast was up just 0.2%.

NBC was up 9.8% in January. NBC got a boost from the Golden Globes, which generated about $32 million in spending, up 4.3% from a year ago. Spots on the Globes fetched $529,000, compared to $507,000 a year ago. It also was helped by Saturday Night Live, where ad prices are up 86% from a year ago, fueled by higher ratings driven by skits about the incoming Trump administration. In the January episodes, spots cost an average of $119,442.

Fox was down 0.3%, CBS was off 2.5%, and ABC was 5.1% lower as it awaited the Jan. 24 premiere of a new season of Scandal, a big part of its Thursday night programming block. SMI noted that spots on Scandal were generating $177,000 this season, down from $215,000 a year ago.

Spending on the CW was up 14.7%.

“The NFL was the savior for Broadcast with the new president continuing to deliver big time for the cable news networks,” said James Fennessy, CEO of SMI.

Without sports, cable was up 7.5%. ESPN was up 6%.

Spending on cable news, covering the lead up and the inauguration of President Donald Trump, jumped 16.8%. Fox News was up 34.2%, CNN was up 19.9% and MSNBC gained 49.2%. Commercial costs were also up sharply on the cable news network, with 30-second spots on MSNBC up 50.1%, Fox up 48% and CNN up 28.8%.

Spending on cable entertainment programming was up 5.9%. HGTV was up 17.2%, TBS gained 7.5%, and TNT grew 14.3%.

MTV was up for its third month in a row after 13 months of lower ad revenue.

“SMI’s latest data reflects the fact that leading marketers, including Coke and P&G, have firmly come to the conclusion that linear TV is still the powerhouse of ROI,” said Fennessy. “A lot of digital experimentation last year didn’t deliver the expected results and advertisers are flooding back to tried and trusted mediums, and that includes Out of Home which is going through a real renaissance.”

Total ad spending in all media rose 5% in January, according to SMI. Volume was the highest since SMI began tracking spending in 2009.

Digital ad spending was up 6.3% in January, the second month in a row for single-digit growth. “Digital’s growth continues to slow and when removing Google and Facebook from the equation we see the sector delivering an anemic growth rate of just 2%,” Fennessy said.

Spending on out of home was up 9.7% in January.

SMI gets TV spending data from the traffic computers at media agencies representing 70% of national buying. SMI models the remaining 30% based on occurrence level data.

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.