TV Ad Spending Down In Post-Olympic Quarter

Without an Olympic games generating big sponsorship dollars, advertising spending on national TV fell 11% during the third quarter, according to the latest figures from research company Standard Media Index.

For September, national TV was down 3% from a year ago

The broadcast networks were down 24% for the quarter, while cable was down 2%. In September, broadcast dropped 5%, while cable slid 2%.

So far this calendar year, spending on broadcast is 4.6% lower, while cable has dipped 2.4%.

In September, spending on broadcast entertainment programming was down 15%. During primetime on the Big Four networks, spending on entertainment programming was down 18%. A year ago, the premieres of new shows began in the third week of September. This week, premieres occurred in the fourth week.

Related: Despite Ratings Issues, NFL Ad Revenue Up in September

The shift of the Emmys to CBS from ABC a year ago contributed to CBS’s revenue being up 5%, the only broadcast network to show a gain in entertainment advertising spending in the month.

CBS aired fewer NFL games in September than a year ago, which mean its overall ad revenue was down 7%. With gains in spending on their NFL telecasts, Fox was up 5% for the month and NBC gained 4%.

“The big story for September is the pricing and revenue strength of the NFL in the face of soft ratings and PR challenges. The league continues to demonstrate that large, engaged and real audiences are still the number one priority for brands and they are willing to pay a premium for this,” said James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index. “Shifts in programming across months and between networks makes comparisons difficult for the entertainment networks in September but we are seeing that a number of major drama originals are really suffering from steep average unit pricing declines off the back of ratings challenges.”

The amount of make good ads on the networks was flat at the networks.

On cable, sports drew increased revenue, while other genres, including the red-hot news category, showed declines.

The NFL Network was up 96% with an additional regular season game in September. Fox Sports 1had extra NCCA football and was up 3% and ESPN showed a 2% gain.

A year ago, the cable news networks were covering the lead up to one of the wildest elections ever. This year Fox News is seeing a 17% decrease in ad spending on its news programming . CNN was down 1%, MSNBC chalked up a 2% increase.

The most expensive commercials on cable news primetime shows was for Fox News’ Fox News Tonight at $!5,200 for 30 seconds, Tucker Carlson Tonight, at $12,200, and Hannity at $8,500. A year ago, Fox News was raking in $31,300 for spots in the presidential debate. Unit costs outside prime time were down slightly on Fox News, which aired about 1% fewer spots per hour.

ON MSNBC, the cost of a spot on The Rachel Maddow show rose to $4,600 from $3,800 a year ago.

The auto category cut its spending on broadcast by 12% in September. Telecommunications industry spending was down 13% and entertainment declined 20%

Increasing spending were pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and consumer electronics.

On cable, auto spending fell 5%, entertainment dropped 27% and telecommunications ws down 11%. The quick serve restaurant and beauty categories were up 7% and 4% respectively. Spending by trvel, hospitality and tourism marketers jumped 47%.

SMI gets its data from the traffic computers at media agencies representing about 60% of U.S. ad 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.