According to new figures from research company Standard Media Index, the TV industry got off to a positive start in 2016 with ad spending up 1% in January. The broadcast TV networks showed a big gain of 9% in the month, offsetting declines of 3% in cable, 3% in syndication, 7% in spot TV and 8% in local TV.
Scatter revenues were up 74% for the broadcasters, while cable networks, scatter revenues were down 12%. Revenues from commercial time bought during the upfront were up 1% for broadcast and down 1% for cable.
The report said the broadcast gains were driven by ratings for NFL football, which helped power CBS and NBC to double-digit increases. The reboot of The X-Files gave Fox a boost. Among the cable networks, TBS, HGTV and Freeform achieved double digit increases. ESPN’s ad revenue was hurt by the move of the college football semi-final games from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve.
James Fennessy, SMI’s chief executive officer, said that “… January results are encouraging… the outstanding performance of the NFL… delivered healthy growth for major broadcasters… Cable hasn’t been as fortunate… revenue declines tracking closely with softer ratings… “
Television’s share of total ad spending was 59% in January, down from 61% a year ago, while overall, ad spending was up 4% in January compared to a year ago, according to the report.
Digital media showed a strong increase of 16%. Pure play social media platforms were up 56%, video was up 39% and Internet radio was up 29%. Print, though, reported ad spending on newspapers down 17% and magazines off 2%.
Fennessy concludes, noting that “… digital continues to deliver healthy double-digit gains… (while) the print and radio sectors are being negatively impacted… one other bright spot is out-of-home advertising… (building) on the momentum generated in late 2015… ”
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