TV Ad Spending Down 3% in 3Q

Ad spending on TV fell 3% in the third quarter, hurt by fewer NFL games on broadcast and lower spending by consumer packaged goods companies on cable.

The report from Kantar Media comes amid talk of a hot fourth-quarter scatter market for network ad time following a 2015-16 upfront that might have finished stronger than early signals indicated.

Kantar says that broadcast network TV spending was down 1% in the quarter. The drop was caused by the scheduling of NFL games so that there was one fewer weekend of games in September this year compared to last year. Had the number of games been comparable, network TV spending would have been up 3% to 4%, Kantar said.

Cable TV spending by advertisers was down 4.2% as consumer packaged goods marketers cut back on the medium. CPG advertising usually accounts for about 20% of cable ad spending. Kantar said the same number of brands were advertised, but bought less commercial time.

National syndication was down 2.6%. Spanish language TV was up 1.1%.

Spot TV was down 5.2%. Political advertising was down from last year’s election cycle, but medical services, legal services and housing advertising was up.

Total ad spending in all measured media was down 3.9% in the third quarter. Kantar does not include video or mobile ad formats in its calculations.

Big gainers included local radio up 12.8%; local magazines gained 4.2%, outdoor, up 4%; and paid search rose 3.7%. Sunday magazines registered a 30.7% drop and cinema advertising was down 15.8%.

For the year to date, TV ad spending is down 3.6%. Broadcast is 3.8% lower, cable is off 1.9% and syndication has sunk 3.6%. Spanish language TV is off 7.1% compared to the last year’s total, which included the World Cup, and spot TV is down 4.7%

Total ad spending is down 4% year to date.

(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

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.