TV Advertising Spending Down 2% in July

Spending on TV advertising fell 2% in July despite a handful of high-profile events.

Research company Standard Media Index found that spending on broadcast was down 2% while cable showed a slight increase of 1%.

The results came despite having the Women’s World Cup, Special Olympics and the ESPY Awards on the tube.

“While TV’s numbers were down slightly, our July results are showing some stabilization at the top end of the TV market,” James Fennessy, chief commercial officer for SMI, said. “The broadcast networks showed a slight uptick, if you discount Univision’s 2014 World Cup revenue. Fox’s performance improved significantly with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, attracting some very significant scatter dollars.”

Cable’s performance was led by double-digit gains for MTV and Discovery Channel.

“The cable story is a mixed bag with some strong performances, while a handful of leading networks are really suffering due to double-digit ratings declines over the summer,” Fennessy said.

The broadcasters continued to feel the effect of a weak upfront market. Spending on ads bought in the upfront were down 13% for broadcast. But much of that was recovered via a 54% increase in scatter spending. Cable upfront spending was up 1%, as was scatter spending.

Overall, ad spending was up 7% in July compared to a year ago, boosted by big increases in out-of-home and digital.

Out of home was up 32%. Digital was up 28%, siphoning marketing dollars that previously would have gone to TV. Social media was up 93% and video sites jumped 63%.

Newspapers were up 3%, but magazines and radio were down.

Big spenders in July included pharmaceutical marketers, non-alcoholic beverage makers and quick-serve restaurants.

SMI gets its figures directly from the computer systems at media-buying agencies representing about 80% of total spending.

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.