TV Spending on Auto Ads Expected to Drop in 2015

TV spending in the key automotive category is expected to be down next year, while digital advertising jumps.

Automakers are expected to increase their spending on cable TV by nearly 10% during 2015, while spending on broadcast will drop by a similar percentage, according to new figures from Borrell Inc.

Auto dealer spending is expected to drop in both broadcast and cable TV.

At $35.5 billion, automotive is the second-largest advertising category, behind general merchandise stores, and a bigger share of spending is going to digital media.

Car sales are up 5% this year and total ad budgets are up 17%, with online media accounting for 95% of this year's increase.

The auto industry illustrates the larger trend that TV advertising growth has slowed and that a chunk of that money appears to be moving to digital.

"It's a landmark year for digital advertising. For the first time, more than half of all automotive ad dollars will be spent on digital media," the Borrell report says. "While it's clearly come at the expense of radio and newspaper budgets, the next phase of erosion will likely affect TV the most."

In total, the amount spent by manufacturers is up 12.2% to $12.3 billion and the amount spent by dealers is up 21.8% to $21.2 billion. Spending by dealer associations is up 1.1% to $1.3 billion and spending by private parties is up $9.5% to $577 million.

For the broadcasters, 2015 would mark the third straight year of lower automaker spending, which is expected to come in at $2.6 billion in 2014 and drop 9.7% to $2.3 billion in 2015.

Automaker spending on cable is expected to rise 9.8% to $1.7 billion in 2015.

Online spending by the automakers is expected to jump 33.7% to $7.4 billion in 2015, dwarfing TV spending for the second straight year.

Dealers' broadcast spending is expected to drop for the third straight year in 2015 to $1.3 billion. Cable spending is expected to be down 0.5% to $$718 million. Online spending is expected to jump 25% to $15.1 billion.

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.