2016 Could Bring More Volatility To The TV Ad Market

NBC Sports is expecting over $1 billion in ad sales from the Summer Olympics in Rio next year. But perhaps this is a cautious estimate -- especially in light of the $1.3 billion record for ad sales recorded in the previous Summer Olympics in London in 2012.

The good news for advertisers and NBC is that the Brazil-based event is just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time zone, which that means perhaps even more viewers watching lots of live sports programming.

While all this is good news, it still might add to the continued volatility of the TV advertising market. Along with growing advertising revenue that’ll be siphoned to the Olympics, next year is a U.S. presidential election, with estimates of $4.4 billion in political advertising -- another record.

What’s the collateral damage here?  Many would say TV advertising money for Olympics comes from somewhere else, from another budget. After all, who doesn’t want to grab 20 million viewers per night for 16 days? And if you don’t want to pay premium dollars? You’d be off the podium for sure.



Secondarily, political advertising winds up being a tricky affair for core local TV advertisers -- those marketers who can get pushed aside for local TV inventory that political money wants.

Olympics and political TV ad seasons continue to be a big every-other-year event for traditional TV selling companies. This will increase and deliver more uneven results in future years -- especially as digital media platforms looks to take more money away from traditional media.

Already the likes of CBS and other TV executives are talking up big TV advertising activity in 2016. Mind you, that’s their job.

Still, estimates are that TV’s majority share will be dinged a bit next year -- down to 36.9% from 37.3%, according to Statista. But that’ll mean little change to the $75 billion or so in U.S. TV ad spending -- depending on your favorite media researcher’s projections.

Some marketplace effects could complicate things -- like perhaps even more weak scatter TV markets, in between a couple of lackluster upfront markets.

What will these changes in the TV marketplace mean in future years? More guessing -- and maybe a little more cautious enthusiasm.

Editor's Note: The first version of TV Watch sent out today featured a column from July. Please disregard. We regret the error.

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