Upfront Spending Up Slightly, Scatter Down

So far this 2016-2017 season, national upfront TV spending has improved modestly, with national TV scatter spending down by double-digit percentages versus the same period a year ago.

Upfront spending place from October 2016 through March 2017 is up 3.7% to $16.5 billion, with scatter spending down 11.5% to $3.8 billion, according to Standard Media Index.

SMI says scatter spending witnessed revenue increases in only two months compared to last season: October (up 17.7%) and February (17.1% higher). The other 4 months saw double-digit declines.

Overall, SMI says national TV so far this season is up 1.8% in advertising revenue. Cable TV networks are 3.6% higher; broadcast networks are down 0.3%. Cable TV advertising gains came from higher TV news channel viewing from end of year Presidential election coverage, according to SMI.

From October through March, SMI says, 76% of national TV media dollars were placed through upfront deals made in the summer period of a year ago, with 18% coming from scatter deals, and 6% from direct response advertising.

“In the most recent quarters... a softening of the market is starting to trend as advertising spend starts leveling off,” say SMI in a recent report.

“While sports continue to drive advertising in the upfront, SMI is observing some key advertising events like March Madness and Hollywood Award Season slowing down more than anticipated.”

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