TV networks may be feeling a little better about national TV advertising in this first quarter -- but that's mostly because it isn't up against any Winter Olympics programming.
AMC Networks had the best cable network results during the first three months of the year -- up 17% to $243 million. National TV advertising only declined 1% to $9.45 billion, says a new report from MoffettNathanson Research -- when the Sochi Winter Olympics that aired on NBC a year ago are taken out. When the Olympics are included, national TV ad revenue was down 5.5% for the period.
Broadcast networks were off 4.3% without the Olympic comparison to $4.1 billion and down 14% when including the results of the games.
NBC (and its TV stations) grew 56% to $1.54 billion in the first quarter, as the network had the Super Bowl this year. ABC was up 4% to $793 million; CBS is down 4.3% to $1.12 billion; and Fox is off 34.3% to $689 million, as the network had the Super Bowl in 2014.
AMC Networks had the best cable network results during the first three months of the year -- up 17% to $243 million; Disney cable networks were next, gaining 15% to $991 million; Time Warner cable channels got 4.3% more to $1.03 billion; and NBCU cable also grew 4.3% to total $851 million.
Those showing weaker or poor performances include Scripps Networks Interactive, up 0.1% to $429 million; Fox cable networks, 0.5% higher to $432 million; and Discovery, also gaining 0.5% to $375 million. Viacom struggled, sinking 4.8% to $956 million.
Overall, cable networks were up 2.3% to $5.3 billion in the first quarter and 3.9% including Sochi Olympics.
A current mediocre national TV market has left broadcast and cable networks relying more than ever on their ratings performances, says MoffettNathanson.