TV Ad Spending Jumped 13% in March: SMI

Standard Media Index March ad spending
March ad spending is up after declines in 2020 and 2019 (Image credit: Standard Media Index)

Television advertising spending rose 13% in March, compared to March 2020, the first month impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Standard Media Index.

The March increase is the first in more than a year, other than the slight 1% gain in March, SMI said.

The jump in March still leaves spending down 6% from the March 2019 level, but SMI noted that the data represents a “very positive trend” for TV as upfront season approaches.

Overall ad spending was up 22% in March. A year ago spending dropped 13% as businesses closed because of COVID. Spending was up 6.3% compared to March 2019.

SMI said that digital advertising is leading the market’s overall growth and was up 27% in March.

Standard Media Index Ad Revenue March

Chart shows TV ad spending trend for 2021 vs 2020 and 2019 (Image credit: Standard Media Index)
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.