TV Ad Spending Gets Boost From NFL Playoffs

Opening 2018 with a bang, spending on national TV advertising climbed 7.1% in January, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

Broadcast TV was up 2.7% and cable jumped 11.1%.

After fumbling the regular season, the National Football League bounced back with ad revenue for playoff games rising 5.3% during January.

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Cable news also continued to grow, up 25% from a year ago. MSNBC’s ad revenue jumped 62%. CNN’s weekday primetime lineup rose 50%, while Fox News’ top rated primetime remained the most expensive for advertisers with an average of $13,600 per 30-second spot, SMI said.

“January has been a stellar month for National TV. Scatter volume is up 50% on 2017 as a host of advertisers have stormed back into the market,” said SMI CEO James Fennessy.

“Some of this growth has been driven by the move of several big college football games and the Grammys into January, but even so underlying growth is still an impressive 5.3%,” Fennessy said. “Based on these results, and our view into forward bookings, we predict National TV to grow 1.6% in Q1, excluding the Winter Games.”

Related: TV Ad Spending Up 1.1% in December, Says SMI

Spending on entertainment programming got a boost because the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, which generated $61 million in ad revenues, aired on Jan. 28, as opposed to February a year ago. Spending on the Grammys was up 3.8%, with the cost of a 30-second spot up 11.8%.

NBC’s broadcast of The Golden Globes on Jan. 7 drew $32 million in ad revenue, up 7.1% from a year ago. The price per spot was up 5%.

Ad revenue for the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Turner’s TBS and TNT on Jan. 21 increased 25%.

“Again, we see that even though audiences are falling, pricing for these major events continues to increase,” said Fennessy. “We expect to see this trend continue, as our research shows an impressive return for advertisers that support live programming. Premium video continues to be the power house of ROAS and, given the fragmentation of audiences and safety issues on other mediums, this won’t change anytime soon.”

Among TV’s biggest advertiser categories, automakers lowered their TV spending by 3%, while insurance (up 22%), prescription pharmaceuticals (up 4%), quick-service restaurants (up 10%) all spent more. Food, produce and dairy spending declined 10%.

Overall, the total U.S. ad market grew by 10.8% in January.

Spending on digital was up 16.8%. Social media was up 42%, with Facebook gaining 55% and Twitter adding 30%. Video sites were up 10%. Hulu increased 20% and Vevo nearly doubled its ad revenue.

Radio was down 6.1%, print shrunk 3% and out of home fell 2.1%.

Standard Media Index gets its data directly from large media agency invoicing systems.

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.