TV Ad Revenue Decline Slowed to 9% in June

(Image credit: Future Media)

The drop in national TV ad revenue continues to slow, with June figures showing an 9% decline, leaving the second-quarter down 19%.

The June shortfall compared to a 28% plunge in April and a 19% drop in May.

National broadcast was down 23% in June and 26% for the quarter. National Cable was down 5% in June and down 17% for the quarter.

“In June, we saw that some advertising budgets are beginning to return to normal,” said James Fennessy, CEO of SMI. “With the gradual return of televised live sports and businesses and restaurants starting to reopen we expect results in the coming months to strengthen.”

SMI said the main reason for the decline in revenue was that lack of live sports on TV. In June, there was some soccer, golf, NASCAR and the Belmont Stakes, but no NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup and no regular season MLB baseball, leaving spending on sports down 60%.

In late July Major League Baseball belatedly started its season and the NBA and NHL began play in their respective bubbles. All drew high ratings.

The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, which aired the NBA Finals last June, was down 51% in ad revenue. Disney’s ESPN was down 20%.

Spending in June for non-sports programming was up 2% in June, with the biggest increases coming in news. 

Fox News had a 55% increase in ad spending in June. Spending on CNN was up 86% and MSNBC was up 10%.

Among entertainment networks, CBS was up 12%, HGTV and BET grew 7% Univision was up 5% and Food grew 1% and TBS was flat.

Among programming companies, ad revenue in June rose 6% for A+E Networks and WarnerMedia and Univision was up 5%. Disney’s revenues were down 36% with no NBA Finals, Fox was down 18%, NBCUniversal was down 10%, Discovery was down 2% and ViacomCBS slipped 1%.

For the second quarter, all of the media companies’ ad revenue was down. Disney led with a 31% drop, followed by WarnerMedia, down 26%, ViacomCBS down 22%, NBCUniversal down 21%, Discover fell 15%, Univision was down 8%, Fox fell 5% and A+E was down 3%.

In June, ViacomCBS had a 19% share of ad spending. ViacomCBS was followed by NBCUniversal at 18%, The Walt Disney Co. at 13%, Discovery, at 13%; WarnerMedia 10%, Fox 6% and Univision 4%. Those eight owners account for 89% of all ad spend.

ViacomCBS finished the second quarter with a 19% share of ad revenue, followed by NBCU with 18%, Disney at 15%, Discovery at 12%, WarnerMedia 10%, Fox 7% and A+E 5% and Univision 3%.

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.