Broadcast, Cable Scatter Volume Dips, Digital Video Rises

For some, the second-quarter TV scatter market is always a barometer of how the upfront TV market -- for the TV season to follow -- will perform. Now, a new research report confirms that assumption.

Standard Media Index, a company that compiles actual TV and media-buying data from media agencies representing 75% of the market, says that both broadcast and cable networks took a hit in scatter volume during the second quarter of this year.

Broadcast networks sank 7% to $457 million and cable networks dropped 4% to $860 million, according to SMI. These declines for broadcast and cable networks for the just-completed upfront TV market were in line with a number of other estimates from TV research and media companies.

SMI also notes that in the first quarter of 2014, the scatter market for cable networks pulled in $688 million -- a 5.7% decline from the same period in 2013. Broadcast networks witnessed a 2.6% increase to $530 million.

James Fennessy, chief commercial officer of SMI, says a key first-quarter result for broadcast was due to NBC’s strong Olympic performance.

SMI also notes digital video revenues in the second-quarter 2014 totaled $720 million -- up 13% from the same period a year ago. In addition, national TV syndication pulled in $48 million in first-quarter 2014 scatter and $68 million in second-quarter scatter money.

The three biggest growth categories in the second-quarter 2014 scatter market were pharmaceuticals, up 90.6% versus second-quarter 2013; entertainment, 49.1% higher; and food/produce/dairy, with a gain of 24.8%, per SMI.

Much of the gain for pharmaceuticals, says Fennessy, was driven by Obamacare.

Categories that declined included computers/software marketers, down 47.7%; consumer electronics, off 43.9%; and travel/tourism, down 21.9%.

Looking at the best-performing TV networks -- cable or broadcast -- Univision had the best second-quarter growth, up 18.3%, with ESPN, next at 13.98%. Fennessy says Univision and ESPN gained from the strong World Cup performance. Scripps was the third-best, up 2.6% versus the second quarter of 2013.

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