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TV Ad Spending Down 4% in September

TV spending dropped 4% in September, leaving it late for the third quarter, according to the latest figures from Standard Media Index.

The September TV decline left the broadcast year down 4% and came in contrast to a 29% increase in spending on digital advertising.

Broadcast TV ad spending was down 4% in September and cable was down 5%. Syndication was off 14%.

Among the broadcasters, the top performers in September were ABC, Univision and Telemundo. ABC and Telemundo were the only broadcast networks to finish up for the quarter, SMI said.

The top cable networks were AMC, HGTV, Food Network and ABC Family. AMC Networks and HGTV and Food owner Scripps Networks were the only cable groups to post gains for the quarter.

Upfront spending was down 4% overall while scatter spending was down 5%, with a 3% increase for the broadcasters offset by an 11% decline for cable.

“September’s results again show that a healthy ad market continues to be driven by a robust digital sector. Television is experiencing considerable rating challenges and this is definitely flowing through to revenue," said James Fennessy, SMI’s chief commercial officer.

Major television events like the Republican Party presidential debates and the NFL and college football season kickoffs were unable to boost TV network revenues enough to deliver gains. “The hope is that new season programming will drive audiences back to the traditional networks but we haven’t seen this just yet,” Fennessy said.

Overall, SMI says ad spending was up 6% in September.

The digital gains were driven by a 105% jump at social media sites, 67% gains for video sites and 56% for Internet radio.

SMI gets it data from the computer systems of major media agency holding companies representing 80% of U.S. spending.

(Photo via Pictures of Money's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 17, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

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.