TV Spending Shows 1% Dip in January

While overall ad spending grew 5% in January, TV ad revenue was down 1%, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

SMI says that spending on the broadcast networks was down 6%. Contributing to the drop was the shift of CBS’ Grammy Awards telecast from January a year ago to February this year.

Cable spending was up 5%, with ESPN growing 29% on the strength of its coverage of the first college football playoffs.

Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo registered double-digit increases.

Following a weak upfront, spending in scatter grew. Upfront spending in January was down 6% from a year ago, while scatter spending was up 39%.

TV spending was hurt by lower ratings and reduced spending by automotive and consumer packaged goods advertisers.

While TV spending is weak, digital spending continues to grow. SMI says digital spending was up 30% in January and now has a 27% share of national ad spending.

“The overall ad market opened strongly in 2015, thanks largely to the continued robust performance of the digital sector.  A weak upfront, soft ratings and reduced spend from a few major advertiser categories continues to impact the TV market, although the scatter market is rapidly growing both in volume and price as the economy continues to strengthen,” said James Fennessy, Standard Media Index’s chief commercial officer. “We are confident this will deliver solid results for the major broadcast and cable groups to close out the quarter.”

SMI gathers its spending data directly from the computer billing systems of media agencies responsible for buying 80% of national advertising. 

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.