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TV Ad Spending Down 4.5% in Second Quarter

Television advertising spending fell 4.5% in the second quarter, according to new figures from Kantar Media.

Broadcast was the only TV category to post a gain in the quarter, up 1%. But Kantar noted that with the Olympics a year ago, some marketers shifted spending to Q1 from Q2. Taking that into account, network TV spending was actually down for the quarter.

Cable was down 5.1%, syndication was off 3.3% and spot TV dropped 1.8%. Spanish-language TV was down 22.4% from last year, when the World Cup boosted ratings and revenue.

Broadcast and cable networks stuffed more commercials into programming in 2015. Commercial minutes on the broadcast networks were up 2.8% and 4.6% on cable, Kantar said. Two-thirds of the networks monitored by Kantar increased their commercial loads year-over-year and at least five networks averaged more than 20 minutes per hour of total ad time (including network promotional announcements) in primetime.

For the first six months of 2015, TV ad spending is down 4.8%, with broadcast slipping 4.8%, cable off 0.8%, syndication declining 4.1% while spot slid 4.4%. Spanish-language TV was down 11.3% in the first six months.

Total U.S. advertising expenditures dropped 3.9% in the second quarter to $38 billion, Kantar said. For the first six months of 2015, spending is down 3.9% as well.

“The prevailing view of the advertising market has become more tempered as the lethargic pace of spending has continued deeper into the year,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. “Measured ad growth is on track to lag nominal GDP for the fifth consecutive year since emerging from the Great Recession, a streak that might have once seemed unimaginable but now would seem to be par for the course.”

Of the 22 types of media monitored by Kantar, 15 were down, reflecting marketers shifting dollars toward unmeasured digital media.

Among the digital categories tracked by Kantar, paid search was up 7.7%, but online display was down 4.7%.

The top seven advertising categories in the quarter all spent less than a year ago. Those categories are retail, automotive, telecom, financial services, restaurants, insurance and travel & tourism. Spending on pharmaceuticals was up 13.2%.

(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 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.