TV Spending Down 16% in February

TV ad revenue dropped 16% compared to a year ago when the Olympics aired from Sochi, Russia, according to research company Standard Media Index.

SMI says TV could have done worse had big events like the Grammy Awards on CBS and ABC’s coverage of the Academy Awards not moved to February from other months.

So far this quarter, TV ad revenue is down 12% and is off 6% for the broadcast year. For the top six broadcast networks, ad revenue is down 10% for the broadcast year. The broadcast year was put in motion by a weak upfront. Upfront spending is down 13% so far, while scatter is showing an 18% increase.

In February broadcast ad dollars were down 24%, with ABC and CBS showing double-digit gains that were more than offset by the big post-Olympic drop at NBC.

Cable was up 1% in February. AMC, MTV and ESPN were among the strongest performing networks.

“February was another challenging month for the industry with poor retail results and a lack of confidence keeping advertisers on the side lines. The move of the Grammys and Academy Awards into February helped to prop up what would’ve been a much poorer result for the overall market and TV in particular,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s chief commercial officer.

Total ad spending was down 4% in February. Digital spending was up 30%, with big gains coming in social media, video mobile and ad exchanges.

SMI gathers its ad spending data directly from the computers systems of 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.