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TV Ad Spending Rose 4% in May

Ad spending on TV rose 4% in May as media buyers and the television networks negotiated upfront ad deals for next season, according to figures from research company Standard Media Index.

Broadcast was down 1%, but cable was up 6% and syndication rose 12%. Since October, when the broadcast year started, broadcast has risen 7% and cable gained 2%.

Spending on ads bought in the upfront was up 2% with a larger, 16% increase coming in the scatter market, leaving national TV up 5%.

On the local side, spot TV was up 6% and local TV and cable were up 14%.

So far this broadcast year, total TV spending is up 5%.

“Off the back of May’s strong results, we expect the networks to deliver very healthy upfront increases in the coming weeks. A 16% increase in scatter dollars through the first half of the broadcast year proves that advertisers are moving money back to TV after some experimentation in digital last year, which didn’t drive the results brands were hoping for,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s CEO.

“It is also fascinating to see the big slowdown in search dollars and the recognition that digital video is where a lot of the action will be happening in the coming months. Excellent new video products from both traditional and new media are capturing an increasing share of the market and we expect this to accelerate as greater and better inventory becomes available,” Fennessy said.

Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo were the top performers in broadcast during May.

On cable, AMC, HGTV and Discovery Channel all saw double-digit increases.

Overall ad spending was up 8% in May, driven by big increases in digital, radio and out of home.

Digital spending was up 15%, despite a 10% drop in search. Advertising on video sites jumped 55% and social media sites rose 44%.

Newspapers were down 8% and magazines down 2%.

Big spending categories included quick-serve restaurants, financial services and prescription pharmaceuticals.

(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.