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TV Advertising Posts Big Gains in November

Advertising spending on television stayed hot in November, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

For the second full month of the new TV season, ad spending was up 17%, with broadcast TV showing a healthy 18% gain.

Ad spending on cable was up 18% and syndication showed a 25% increase.

Spot TV was up 11% while local broadcast and cable ads were up 28%.

The gains reflect what is by all reports a very hot scatter market. But it also appears from SMI’s figures that the upfront was significantly stronger than it appeared in the spring.

SMI says that for broadcast, upfront spending for November was up 9% from the prior year. For cable, upfront spending is up 16%. It could be that with price increases moderate, marketers pushed more money into the upfront late.

Scatter buys on broadcast are up 44%, reflecting in part what some network executives say are prices that are up 20% and more. For cable, scatter spending is up 24%.

SMI notes that strong broadcast network ratings in November helped TV revenue as well, with NFL football providing momentum, as well as the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Late night TV ratings and new programming also continued to fare well with audiences, SMI added, noting that NBC’s Tonight Show delivered the second best monthly ratings average in seven years.

Overall, SMI says ad spending was up 23% in November. Digital was up 37%, out of home grew 44%, newspapers were up 22% and radio increased 24%.

"Strong consumer spending in the lead up to the holidays coupled with a strengthening TV market, driven by the power of NFL ratings, has delivered the highest monthly advertising spend seen since SMI started tracking agency bookings in 2009. November’s result is a staggering 16% higher than the previous record month, demonstrating the faith major brands have in the ad market to drive brand awareness and sales," said James Fennessy, SMI’s chief commercial officer.

"All sectors have been swept up by this positive momentum and we expect this trend to continue, particularly if solid TV ratings continue to attract the high pricing that the scatter market is currently commanding," Fennessy said.

SMI collects its data directly from the computer systems at the major media buying agencies. A notable exception is GroupM, which does not contribute to SMI figures.

(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.