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TV Ad Spending Shows Small Increase in May

National television advertising revenues were up 0.8% in May, according to Standard Media Index’s AccuTV service.

So far this season, marketers have spending nearly $30 billion on national TV ads, down 0.3% from the same period a year ago.

With ratings down, revenue has been propped up by an increase in ad units. SMI said more than 6.3 million 30-second equivalent ad units have run this season, up 3% from a year ago. Makegood units, which networks use to compensation advertisers for underdelivery, are up 2.7% from a year ago to just over 1.3 million units.

Even as the number of spots goes up, several big media companies have been talking about plans to reduce the number of commercials in programming on their networks..

Sports and news were the strongest segments for linear TV. Sports ad revenue was up 16.1%. Five additional games in the NBA conference finals compared to last year, helped fuel the increase.

With the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl, NBCU leads the sports market with a 28.5% share (up from 17% a year ago). Disney, owner of ESPN, is second at 25.7%, 21 Century Fox had a 16.7 share, CBS had 15.1% and WarnerMedia garnered 9.4%.

Spending was up for news programming. The big cable news networks, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, were up 18.3%. Revenue for broadcast news programming was down 4.4% for the month. NBCU had the largest share of new programming ad revenue with 33.8%. 21 Century Fox accounted for 19.1%, WarnerMedia at 16.2%, Disney at 14.3%, CBS at 8.8% and Univision with 5.3%.-

Ad revenue for entertainment programming fell 3.1% year over year as ad dollars follow viewers from linear TV to VOD, OTT and other ad supported video platforms.

“May results again demonstrate how critical live programming is for National TV. News and Sport continue to deliver big time for the networks while entertainment programming remains in the doldrums as viewers increasingly consume on non-traditional platforms,” says James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index. “The other stand out performance for the calendar year is the new combined Discovery Inc, which is now the leading cable entertainment network by several hundred million dollars over second placed Viacom.”

NBCU gets the biggest share of entertainment programming ad dollars, with 17.3% so far this season. Second is Discovery, which earlier this year acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, with14.6%, Viacom with 13.8%, Disney with 9.6%,m AT&T’s WarnerMedia, 9.4% and CBS with 9.2%.