SMI: Upfront Rules Dramas, Movie Buys

This time of year, it's worth asking how big a deal the
upfront really is. Research firm Standard Media Index provides an answer.

According to SMI, 78% of the advertising bought on TV dramas
and movies so far this broadcast season were purchased in upfront deals, with
the remaining 22% bought in scatter. So far this calendar year, the percentage
of commercials bought in the upfront is 79%.

From October to April, upfronts' share has been fairly
consistent, ranging between 82% and 77%, except for in December, when only 70%
of the spots were bought during the upfront.

The unique data is available for the first time from SMI,
which extracts data from the billing systems at media agencies representing
about 60% of all ad spending. Most of the major agencies, except GroupM, are

SMI also says that April was a good month for the TV
business, with revenues up 10% from a year ago, representing 62.2% of all media
spending. The month got a boost from the March Madness of the NCAA Men's
Basketball Tournament spilling into April this year.  CBS' ad revenues were up 37% in the month and
TNT was up 60%.

Overall, broadcast was up 13% in April, representing 22.8%
of media spending, and cable was up 9%, representing 26.6% of media spending.

Syndication was up 4%, spot was up 2% and local broadcast
and MSO revenues were up 10%.

So far this calendar year, TV is up just 1%, and represents
62.3% of all media spending.

Broadcast is down 1%, cable is up 3%, spot and syndication
are flat and local is up 7%.

Digital advertising is growing fast, up 26% in April and up
20% so far this year. So far this year, mobile is up 99% and video is up 28%.
Digital spending represents 23% of all ad spending.

Magazines and newspapers showed double-digit gains so far this
year and in April, though SMI says that reflects large declines a year ago.

Total media spending was up 14% in April and 6% year to

says its data allows media owners to track their growth and share against a
sizable aggregate benchmark. SMI's data comes out in nearly real-time, and can
be sliced and diced in a variety of ways.

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.