TV Ad Spending Up 9% in January, Hitting Pre-Pandemic Levels: SMI

A remote control pointing at a TV
(Image credit: Getty Images)

National television advertising spending rose 9% in January from a year ago, according to new data from Standard Media Index.

The January gain left TV spending up 0.1% from January 2020, months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in America.

SMI said that broadcast TV was up 19%, while cable was down 3%.

The overall advertising market across all media was up 19% in January from a year ago.

As usual, digital was a big gainer, jumping 27% .Over two years, digital spending has increased 43%.

Standard Media Index January TV Ad Spending

(Image credit: Standard Media Index)

But out-of-home had an even bigger increase at 133% compared to last year. Newspapers were up 40% and radio was up 21%.

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Magazines were down 31%. Over two years, magazine ad revenues have plunged 54%.

The biggest spending advertiser category was tech, up 31%. CPG was up 2% and pharma increased spending by 8%. Autos were down 7%, but retail came back with a 29% bump and travel rebounded with spending climbing 266%. 

Standard Media Index gets it spending data from invoices at all of the major media agency holding companies and most major independents, representing 95% of national brand ad spend. ■

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.