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TV Ad Revenues Up 10% in October, SMI Says

Powered by pro football and the start of a new season, TV advertising revenue rose 10% in October, their biggest gain since January 2014, according to figures from research company Standard Media Index.

While volume in the 2015 upfront was reported to be down, the amount of ad revenue generated from upfront buys in October was up 11%, with broadcast showing a 10% increase and cable up 12%.

Media execs have been talking about a strong scatter market, and broadcast scatter sales were up 19%, according to SMI, but cable was down 1%.

Overall broadcast showed a 12% jump in ad revenues in October. Cable grew 9%, spot TV was up 5% and local broadcast and cable rose 18%, with political spending probably boosting that last figure. Syndication ad revenues were down 8%.

All four big broadcast networks posted increases, as did Spanish language networks Univision and Telemundo. Big gainers in cable included ESPN, MTV, HGTV and ABC Family.

Despite the October increases, TV revenue is still down 3% for the calendar year.

“Everyone had a gut feeling that quality original programming, a solid upfront and great football ratings were delivering strong numbers and now we have the results to back this up. The performance of national television is very exciting given the doldrums we were in over the summer. Media owners are justifiably looking forward to a bumper holiday season,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s chief commercial officer.

“While recent C3 ratings continue to be soft, the networks seem to be doing a great job of demonstrating to brands that their C7 performance and well-engaged and targeted audiences more than make up for any shortfalls,” Fennessy said.

All advertising revenues were up 15% in the month, the biggest gain of the year, according to SMI.

In addition to the strength in TV, the gains were powered by digital ad revenues, which skyrocketed 34%. Ads on social networks climbed 129% and video jumped 70%.

Big spending advertiser categories included alcoholic beverages, prescription pharmaceuticals and entertainment.

SMI gets its ad revenue numbers directly from the computers at most of the big media agencies. Those agencies represent 80% of U.S. ad dollars.